What Is Ylang-Ylang?


Pierre-Yves Babelon/Getty Images

Ylang ylang is the name given to both a tree (Cananga odorata) and its flower. The essential oil extracted by steam distillation from the fragrant ylang-ylang flower is used extensively in perfumery, generally as a heart or middle note.

How to Pronounce It

Ylang ylang is pronounced "EE-lang EE-lang." The ylang-ylang tree is native to the rainforests of tropical Asian countries, primarily Indonesia.

What It Smells Like

Ylang ylang oil is beautifully fragrant, with a heavy, sweet, slightly fruity floral scent. It is one of the main notes in many of the most popular fragrances today, including Chanel No. 5 and Joy Perfume. 

Other Uses of Ylang Ylang

In aromatherapy, ylang-ylang is used for its stress-relieving, anti-anxiety, and mood elevating properties. Like jasmine and rose, the scent of ylang-ylang has long been considered an aphrodisiac, and ylang-ylang scented massage oil is believed by some to be an effective topical remedy for sexual dysfunction.

Ylang Ylang Fragrances to Try

Some women's fragrances that feature ylang-ylang in their composition include:

Perfumes for men that feature ylang ylang include Hermes Bel Ami, Hermes Vanille Galante, Amouage Silver Man, Yves Rocher Samarkande, and CK One Scene.

Related Stories