Welcome to My Little Garden

Welcome to My Little Garden
Welcome to My Little Garden

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
Gardening is part of my life and I want to share that portion of my zeal and joy with you. These are my thoughts, my experiences and life work. I hope it enrich and add value to you too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)

When I first came across this flower a decade ago, I had instantly fall in love with the fragrance. The scent had somehow etched within my soul and I remember looking for that nostalgic aroma.

It was more vivid compared to all jasmines I ever planted or come across. Frangipani don't appeal so much compared to this one (at least to me)

One of the wonderful things about this plant is that it always have flowers and never run out of them. I got them in a nursery for RM20 (something that I cannot even get a bargain for it)
I was told by the vendor that this one is a hybrid type as it always flowers compared to the ordinary one that only flowers during a season. This plant is about few months old in my garden when I first purchased it.

Somehow this one, compliment very well with my water jasmine in my garden, both of the fragrance combined gives a sweet, light note that you would wonder which flower gives their fragrance. Too much of this one somehow gives a lightness and forces you to relax (opposed to what you want to do in a garden - working at it vigorously)

To me personally, I feel really at home with this plant. Sort of my magical plant.
And yes, there are a lot of taboo with this one.


  1. Hi, James. Ylang ylang is used in Chanel's famous "No. 5" perfume; in fact the tree is sometimes called the Number Five tree here. I lost mine in a hurricane, but then I came across a dwarf cultivar (it just grows VERY slowly) and after two years it's still about the same size (3.5'). But it's lovely to have the fragrance again.

  2. Love ylang-ylangs. The fragrance seems kinda peppery to me. I love it!

  3. This plant has a nice name too! Glad to know that this hybrid type flowers all the time. At least you do not have to wait so long for the fragrance ;-) The plant looks like it has potential to grow big. When the time comes, I am sure the fragrance can be smelt even before entering the house/gate he he...

  4. Every morning before my father drive off to work he will pick up ylang ylang flowers and put in the car close to him.

  5. I have always love the name of this plant but have never attempted to plant it. Somehow it has never resonated with me and I wonder why. Btw what is the taboo associated with it?

  6. I love it! Recently I went to Malacca n I was surprised to see all along the way, they planted this Bunga Kenanga.Maybe thats the state's official flower, just like in Selangor (at least in Ampang), its Bunga Tanjung.Whats the taboo abt this tree? Is it something to do with....(hair on my neck is standing!) hehe...

  7. I had smelled the perfume (in bottles) but never seen the flower before. Thank you.

  8. Penny - Never knew that Channel 5 fragrance comes from this one. Thanks for sharing it.

    Aaron - Glad that you do.

    Stephanie - Totally agree with you, somehow the pot is not big enough for the bigger growth, so I guess Im contented with this size for the moment.

    Kadazan girl - that must be lovely, I have come across people put jasmines in their cars too. Thanks for dropping by.

    Stitello - I guess you just don't want to plant everything. Actually I had moved out from one season of gardening to the next, the hardy ones stays in my garden. So I guess, when you have the mood to plant fragrance themed plants - You might consider this one in your garden.

    P3chandran - You know what, I too came across all the Kenaga tree flowers - those orange flowers truly captive me very much. Also I come across those Bunga Tanjung too - those tiny star-shaped flowers are bursting with fragrance.

    Missygarden - Thank you for your comment & dropping by, glad you came to know the real flower behind the perfumed bottle.

    As for the taboo - It was believed that once these trees grows big, they tend to house spirits of which loved these kind of fragrance.
    In fact, the wood is used to make coffin for the rich chinese people (as the wood gives out the fragrance too) So, its a taboo to have a coffin making tree in the garden during that time.
    Even the Frangipani is considered a graveyard flower - but now, all that is the thing in the past.

  9. James, please tell me where did you buy this plant, I mean the nursery name and contact no. This is the plant I wanted to buy but ended with a white chempaka tree! I planted my chempaka tree in a flower pot but it has never flower since the day it came back from the nursery. It was flowering then and the perfume great too.

  10. My mother used to wear this flower on her hair, and she smell really nice miles away (no chanel no.5 back then). She also put it together with her 'bedak sejuk'(face powder). What I love about this flower is that it is such a natural car perfume, better than daun pandan. Just pick few & put it near the a/c. It's better than any commercial car perfume and yes, if you plant this, it will be at no cost (except that RM20 bucks for ya James)!

  11. I bet the fragrance is amazing!

  12. I love these flowers too. I had a hybrid Ylang Ylang in my garden but during our move I left it behind to be transported at a later stage. But when I return to pick it, it has already died due to the scorching heaty season we had then. Sigh...I was so sad then coz it's not easy to find Ylang Ylang in nursery. James, I have seen the tree Ylang Ylang while in Tomohon, Sulawesi. The whole tree was blooming and the fragrance was really heady and relaxing, as you put it! Great plant to have in the garden.

  13. Belle - I will check and let you know coz this one do not have a board nor it has a office or something. Its a lot along the roadside of Taman Greenwood, Batu Caves. I will ask for the h/p number for you when I go there again.

    Rough Rosa - I will try to put it in my A/c in see the effects, but again - hope it doesn't bring so much relaxation in the car while driving. I don't mind having this in the bedroom.

    J.C. Sorry to note about the plant, Hope you manage to find a new one and have it in your garden too.


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