Uvaria odoratissima Roxb.
Large evergreen shrub, climbing by the hooked peduncles or semi-scandent. Branches glabrous, appressed hairs on young branches. Leaves oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate, 10-18 x 2.8-4.8 cm, acuminate, subcoriaceous, glossy above, glabrous on both sides, juvenile leaves covered with appressed golden-brown hairs. Petiole 6-7 mm, glabrous. Peduncle hooked, flattened, leaf opposed, sparsely hairy to glabrous, usually one flowered. Pedicel 1.7-2 cm, glabrous. Sepals 3, basally connate, ovate, 7-10 x 4-7 mm, acute, glabrate, apex recurved. Petals 6, ± equal, ovate to oblong, 35-54 x 10-17 mm, yellowish green to bright yellow, pubescent on both sides, narrow and concave at base, expanded above the concave part, subacute, flattened. Outer petals with a minute ligule like outgrowth just above the concave part, inner petals with a knee like projection above the concave part, concealing the stamens and carpels. Receptacle ± flat. Stamens spirally arranged, 2.5 mm long, cuneate, filament shorter than anthers, locules unequal, connective-tip expanded, apiculate. Ovary 5 mm long, glabrous, style short, stigma oblong, papillate. Fruit of 1-10 baccate monocarps, 37 x 22 mm, sessile, obovoid, apiculate, yellow and fragrant when ripe, glabrous.
Fl. Per.: Almost throughout the year (except extreme winter).
Type: Native in China, cultivated at Madras, J. G. Koenig, Herb. Linn. 708.9 (LINN).
Distribution: Widely cultivated in Old World tropics and subtropics.
The Climbing Ylang-Ylang (or Ilang-Ilang) is indigenous to S. China and Java, reputedly also wild in S. India and Sri Lanka. Occasionally cultivated in our gardens for its very fragrant flowers. Usually its growth is kept in check by constant lopping to shape it into a dense shrub, otherwise it becomes a hook-climber.