Oleum Anonae. - Oleum Canangae. - Ylang-Ylangol. - Canangaol. - Essence d'YIang-Ylang. - Essence de Cananga.
Origin2). Cananga odorata, Hook. f. et Thomson (Uvaria axillaris, Roxb; U. farcta, Wall.; U. odorata, Lam.; U. Cananga, Vahl; Unona odorata, Dun.; U. odoratissima, Blanco; U. lepto-peta/a, DC, family Anonaceae), the ylang-ylang tree, is distributed throughout the tropical portion of eastern Asia. The tree which is 20 m. high2) is known in Manila as ylang-ylang, in most of the Philippine provinces as Alangilang. The meaning of the word is "something that hangs loosely, something fluttering". The name is apparently due to the fact that the flowers, also the twigs of the older trees are flabby and are readily moved by the wind. In the Moluccas and in Java the tree is known as Tsjampa or Kananga, from which Rumph has derived the genus name Cananga. In Burma the tree is known as Kadapanam.
In European literature the ylang-ylang tree was first described as Arbor Saguisan by the botanist John Ray3), shortly thereafter as Cananga by Rumphl) who also supplied an imperfect illustration of the plant. Lamarck-) named the plant Uvaria or Unona odorata. In 1797, Roxburgh8) became acquainted with the tree that had been transplanted from Sumatra to the botanical garden in Calcutta. The first correct illustration of the inflorescence and fruit was published by Blume4) in 1829.
1) Jahresb. f. Pharm. 1889, 70.
2) To Mr. A. Loher of Manila I am greatly indebted for valuable information concerning the ylang-ylang tree.
3) John Ray, Historia plantarum, Supplementum torni 1 et 2. Historia stirpium insulae Luzonensis et Philippinarum a Georgio Jesepho Camello. London 1704, p. 83.
According to Blume the flowers of the wild tree are almost odorless. For this reason all the commercial oils, ylang-ylang oil as well as cananga oil, are distilled almost exclusively from cultivated material. The differences in the quality of the two oils are due partly to differences in the method of production, partly, no doubt, to differences in the delicacy of the odor of the blossoms in different districts. Thus it is claimed that the flowers of the trees grown in Java have a much less delicate fragrance than those of the trees grown in Manila, although the plants show no botanical differences whatever; neither are cultural varieties of Cananga odorata known. Hence the differences in the oils from Java and the Philippines must be sought in conditions other than climate or soil, neither can they be explained by differences in distillation.
In Manila the ylang-ylang tree flowers almost all the year round but there are two principal periods which, however, are greatly dependent on rain and typhoons: the first period lasts from March to May, the second from July to October.
The fully developed flowers, which alone should be utilized for the distillation of a good oil, are yellow, the less developed flowers are green. The latter yield a less fragrant oil that is richer in terpenes, hence has a lower specific gravity6).
On account of the fragrance of the flowers and that of the oil distilled therefrom, the tree has been cultivated extensively outside of the Philippines. So far as the commercial oil is concerned, the cultivation in Java1)2) and Reunion3) only need be considered. Attempts to distill of the oil have likewise been made in Cochinchina (Bangkok4)), Madagascar5), Nossi Be6), in the Seychelles7), in Mayotte and the other Comoro islands8), in Amani9), New Guinea10) and Jamaica. Samoa11) has supplied dried flowers from which, however, no satisfactory oil could be obtained.
1) Rumphius, Herbarium Amboinense, Amboinsch Kruidboek. Amsterdam 1750, Cap. 19, fol. 195, Tab. 65.
2) Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, Encyclope'die me'thodique. Dictionnaire de botanique, 1783, p. 595. - Junghuhn, Java. Leipzig 1852, p. 166.
3) William Roxburgh, Flora indica, 1832. Vol. II. p. 661.
4) Carl Ludwig Blume, Flora Javae. Bruxellis 1828 - 1829, fol. 29, Tab. 9 and 14, B.
5) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1899, 9.
Cultivation. Concerning the cultivation of ylang-ylang in Reunion, Flacourt12) gives detailed directions. In order to raise the trees from seeds, the ripe, fleshy berries are carefully deprived of every trace of pulp by repeated washing. Immediately after the last washing they are placed into the seed bed which is prepared in rich, highly fertilized soil. After 40 to 60 days the seedlings make their appearance and from 1 to 11/2 months later they are transplanted into nurseries which must be arranged in a shady place.
In stead of transplanting the seedlings into nurseries, the planters of Reunion prefer another method. The seedlings are transplanted to so-called tentes, cup shaped forms readily made from the leaves of Pandanus utilis. Whether transplanted according to one method or the other, the transplanted plants require about two months to attain a height of about 25 to 30 cm. and to acquire a satisfactory development. In this stage they are best adapted for transplanting into plantations. For the next two years the plants must receive careful treatment but produce nothing. From the third year on the trees produce flowers and the harvest can be estimated at from 150 to 200 francs per hectare. However, care must be taken not to allow the trees to attain a greater height than 2,5 to 3 m. This end is accomplished by cutting back the top. At the same time the lateral branches develop more strongly and flowers are produced more plentifully so that the results become very profitable. In Reunion the flowering period of the ylang-ylang tree begins in January or February; however, a regular crop cannot be counted on before May to August. The fresh flowers yield a better quality of oil. 50 to 64 kg. of freshly picked flowers yield 1 kg. of oil, hence 1,56 to 2,0 p.c. From a hectare of a plantation, laid out according to the directions of Flacourt, 3 to 4 kg. of oil can be obtained annually.
l) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1899, 9.
2) Ibidem April 1909, 26; April 1911, 39.
3) Flacourt, Rev. cultures coloniales 13 (1903), 366; 14(1904), 16; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1904, 91; April 1909, 94; October 1911, 103; Report of Roure-Bertrand Fils April 1911, 36.
4) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1904, 18; April 1908, 119.
5) Ibidem October 1908, 135; October 1911, 102.
°) Ibidem October 1909, 129.
7) Bull. Imp. Inst. 6 (1908), 110.
8) Report of Roure-Bertrand Fils April 1910, 66.
9) Der Pflanzer, Ratgeber f. trop. Landwirtschaft 4 (1908), 257; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1909, 93; October 1911, 102.
10) Berichte der deutsch. pharm. Ges. 19 (1909), 25.
11) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1890, 48.
12) Rev. cultures coloniales 13 (1903), 366; 14 (1904), 16.