Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Cananga odorata


Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook.f. & Thomson

Family Name: Annonaceae
Synonyms: Cananga mitrastigma (F.Muell.) Domin, Cananga odorata (Blume) Koord. & Valeton var. velutina, Cananga scortechinii King, Uvaria odorata Lam.
Common Name: Kenanga, Nerian, Ilang Ilang, Ylang Ylang, Kenanga Hutan, Perfume Tree, Cananga, Kenanga Utan, Chenanga, Nyai, 香水树, 依兰, 依兰依兰


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Weeping / Pendulous, Irregular
Maximum Height 10 m to 20 m


Native Distribution Malesia to Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Cryptogenic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Medium-sized tree, able to grow up to 10 - 20 m tall.
Crown Long droopy branchlets and stems (4 - 6 m) gives the tree an irregular, straggly crown.
Foliage Dark green leaves, alternately arranged, measuring about 10 - 20 cm long and 4 - 8 cm wide.
Stems Pendulous, pubescent when young, striated with age.
Flowers Flowers turning from green to yellowish-brown upon maturity, sweet-scented, petals hairy and curled up. 
Fruit Fruit turning from dark green to black when ripen, measuring about 2 cm long.
Etymology Genus Cananga is derived from a Tagalog name "alang ilang" and also refers to the perfume produced from the fragrant flowers. Species odorata means fragrant or sweet-scented. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: In Java and Vietnam, the dried flowers are used to treat malaria. The paste obtained from pounding the fresh flowers can be used to treat asthma. The bark of the plant is said to be effective in treating stomach problems. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant
Landscape Uses Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden

Image Repository



Master ID 1486
Species ID 2779
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 13 December 2022.