A fairy tale from the Philippines:
“A gifted gardener named Dumaleg and his wife Amara could not seem to have children. They visited a local managanito or soothsayer who told them that the gods were unhappy that Dumaleg had married for they wanted him to raise plants and flowers, not children. However, the managanito interceded with the gods and shortly thereafter the couple had a baby girl but on the condition that the girl never be allowed to marry even though she would be as beautiful and fresh as the flowers from Dumaleg’s garden. They named their daughter Ylang and raised her away from the eyes of men. However, one day when the parents were away from home a young man spotted Ylang over the courtyard wall and introduced himself. He continued to visit Ylang several times and she was careful not to touch him. One day he brought her a bouquet of flowers to express his feelings and their fingers touched when she took the bouquet. Immediately she disappeared and where she had been standing the gods grew a tree with beguiling scented small yellow flowers. In deep mourning the young man named this tree Ylang Ylang in remembrance of the beautiful Ylang.”
In the Philippines young women decorate their hair with this beautiful flower to this day.
To stand under a Ylang Ylang tree is to inhale peace and serenity from the bloom known as the “flower of flowers” or “fragrance of fragrances”. The name in Tagalog when spelled ilang means wilderness, alluding to its natural habitat, but when ilang-ilan is used it means rare, referring to its beautiful and delicate scent. Like the warm wind off a tropical island with just a hint of spice and verdant richness, Ylang Ylang carries the sweet, fresh scent of tropical flowers. Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) has a sweet, soft, flowery fragrance that has made it a romantic favourite. In Indonesia, the petals are often strewn across a marriage bed. Ylang Ylang is extremely effective in calming and bringing about a sense of relaxation, and it may help with releasing feelings of anger, tension, and nervous irritability. It has a long history in skin and hair care products, particularly in Asia, where it is used to promote luxuriant hair.