Ylang-Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata)

If you haven’t discovered the source of Chanel No. 5 perfume, allow us to introduce you to the Ylang-Ylang Tree.  Native from island chains of Southeast Asia into northern Australia, this tropical evergreen produces oils that are steam-distilled from its aromatic flowers to create the world-famous women’s fragrance.

The story goes that Russian-born perfumer Ernest Beaux presented French coutourier Coco Chanel a series of sample fragrances in 1920.  The fifth sample piqued her interest, and because of the coincidence that her clothing line was introduced on the fifth day of the fifth month every year, she dubbed the new product Chanel No. 5.  Its major component is the oil of Ylang-Ylang (pronounced EE-lang – EE-lang), augmented by oils of a jasmine and a rose.

Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) belongs to the Annonaceae family, which includes custard-apple, sugar-apple and soursop.  On drooping branches it produces greenish flowers that mature to chartreuse shades and eventually to a fairly dark yellow.  In warmer months in southern Florida, its heavenly fragrance permeates the evening and nighttime air for a significant distance.  Where it is native, the fast-growing C. odorata can reach 100 ft., but in the thin soils of our region, mature heights of 30 ft. are the norm.  This species is amenable to exposures from full sun to light shade, and in placing the plant, we recommend a site where other trees provide a wind break.

Some medicinal uses, including aromatherapy, are attributed to Ylang-Ylang.  It is also said that in Indonesia, the tree was historically valued as an aphrodisiac, its flowers strewn about the beds of newlyweds.  We here at Richard Lyons’ Nursery suspect that providing an aphrodisiac to the newly-married is like carrying coals to Newcastle.  But no matter what use you have in mind for Ylang-Ylang, you will find it available at the nursery in 1-gal., 3-gal. and 15-gal. sizes.

Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)

Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)

Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)

Cananga odorata (Ylang- Ylang)

Long John or Ant Tree (Triplaris cumingiana)

The Long John Tree is native to Central America and tropical South America.  It is sometimes called the Ant Tree, because in its native habitat, its hollow branches are inhabited by stinging ants which protect the tree from herbivores.  This tree can attain a height of 50-70′ with an oblong canopy that remains narrow.  The bark peels off in patches, giving it a smooth blotchy trunk.   This tree is dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants.  The blossoms of the female tree are more deeply colored than the male tree, and produce nutlike seeds attatched to three brilliant red 2″ long propeller like wings, that are wind dispersed, fluttering down like tiny helicopters.  They flower in the dry season from November to early spring.

Richard Lyons Nursery sells these trees as seedlings in 3gal. containers or as 12-15′ trees in 15gal. containers.

Triplaris cumingiana (Long John or Ant Tree)

Triplaris cumingiana (Long John or Ant Tree)

Triplaris cumingiana (Long John or Ant Tree)

Visit the Nursery from Wherever You Are

Do you need a quick escape from a hectic work day? Want a quiet place in the shade to ease your mind? We have just the thing for you, a virtual visit to our nursery from your desktop or mobile device. Today we have a stop in our shade garden, under the palms. Have a seat by the pond on our bench and stay as long as you like.

Under the palms in the shade garden: http://360.io/ZcQm6u

Desert Cassia (Senna polyphylla)

The Desert Cassia Tree occurs from Puerto Rico to The Virgin Islands.  It is a very popular landscape tree in South Florida due to its small weeping form, attaining a height of 6-15′ and a spread of 6-10′ wide.  It is also drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant making it a good tree for xeriscapes.  Its small leaves and moderate size makes this tree suitable for pot culture and bonsai.  It flowers with 1″ yellow blossoms on and off year round all along the branches, with flowering most prevalent, between mid-October and May.

This tree is also popular with butterfly enthusiasts, as it is a host plant for Sulphur Butterflies as well as an excellent nectar source.  Desert Cassia was voted Plant of the Year in 1999 by the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association.  At the nursery, we have several trees available in 3gal., and 15gal. containers.

Senna polyphylla (Desert Cassia)

Senna polyphylla (Desert Cassia)

Senna polyphylla (Desert Cassia)

 

Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata)

Plant lovers appreciate the vast array of fragrances encountered in tropical and subtropical species.  One of the best of them introduced to our region is the Sweet Almond, Aloysia virgata.  Its strong fragrance is optimally enjoyed at a distance from the plant, where breezes easily carry it.  Native to fairly dry subtropical areas of Argentina, Sweet Almond can be grown in the ground all the way into Climate Zone 8, where it is treated as a perennial.  But in southern Florida, it is an evergreen capable of reaching 15 ft. in height.  It has an upright, informal habit with some horizontal branching, and is amenable to hard pruning for owners preferring to maintain it as a shorter shrub.

A. virgata blooms in flushes on and off most of the year with spikes of tiny white flowers.  The leaves are dark green to gray-green and feel sandpapery to the touch.  Happily, the plant is not very demanding.  It tolerates average soils and, once established, is sufficiently drought-tolerant to perform well in a xeriscape.

Sweet Almond provides more than just an appealing fragrance, as it also attracts bees and butterflies.  In particular, it is popular with the Atala Butterfly, Eumaeus atala, still in recovery from near-extinction.  This multi-faceted plant is available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery in 1-gal. and 3-gal. containers.

Aloysia virgata (Sweet Almond)

Aloysia virgata (Sweet Almond)

Aloysia virgata (Sweet Almond)