Perfume Yielding Plants
H.F. Macmillan. F.L.S; A.H.R.H.S.
Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes.

Scents in plants.� These are usually in the form of volatile or essential oils (q.v.) and contained in minute sacs, as often found in flowers. They serve to attract insects, on which many plants depend for their pollination. Many flowers, especially in the tropics, attract insects by their size and brilliance, and therefore possess little or no fragrance. Scents are not confined to flowers alone, but may be found in various parts of plants, as in leaves (e.g. citronella, geranium, etc.), bark (as in cinnamon), fruit (nutmeg, Ajowan, vanilla), seed (Tonka bean), roots (Vetiver grass), or wood (as in sandal-wood). Scents or odours are also commonly found in resins, oleo-resins or gum-resins, which are therefore largely used in perfumery or in incense.

The cultivation of plants for their scent or aroma and the extraction of these for commercial purposes form an important industry in some countries, as in Spain, S. France, Sicily, Bulgaria, etc. Thus the cultivation of pelargoniums (for geranium oil) is carried on extensively in Reunion, Morocco, etc., as is citronella in Ceylon, lemon-grass in S. India, and cloves (for clove-oil) in Zanzibar and elsewhere.

Extraction. � Various methods are employed for the extraction of the volatile oils, as distillation by means of a still, used for oil-grasses, etc.; expression by pressure, which includes the " Sponge " process, as applied to citrus fruit and peel; the latter is pressed into an ordinary sponge, which is then squeezed by hand into a receptacle for the oil. In the Ecuelle method, which is another form of expression by pressure, the fruits are placed in a revolving vessel furnished with spikes, which break up the oil cells and set the oil free. Enfleurage is a process by which flowers are treated with purified lard, beef fat, or olive oil. A layer about J in. thick of this is placed on a sheet of glass which forms the base of a wooden tray (38 X 24 X 3 in.), several of such trays being laid upon one another in tiers ; over the fat is placed a layer of fresh flowers, these being replaced every second or third day until the fat becomes thoroughly charged with the perfume. It is then termed a " pomade," from which the perfume is extracted with alcohol. Maceration, a modification of the latter method, is adapted to flowers of a delicate nature, which are placed in a metal vessel containing hot fat or olive oil maintained at a temperature of 65�70� C. These are kept stirred mechanically, the exhausted flowers being replaced at intervals until the fat becomes fully charged with the scent, when it is called a pomade, as already stated.

Special skill is required in the art of blending and fixing perfumes. Highly volatile scents quickly vanish unless combined with some fatty substance to act as a base. Certain animal substances are thus employed to give superior scents a greater degree of permanence, and of these the following are of principal importance.

Ambergris, found in the intestines of the sperm, whale, sometimes floating about in the sea or on the shores of tropical countries, as in Sumatra, Madagascar, S. America, China, Arabia, etc. It is a greyish white, fatty substance, of a penetrating disagreeable odour, but when diluted in alcohol it possesses a pleasant perfume, which is of a specially permanent nature. It is insoluble in water, slightly soluble in cold alcohol, but readily soluble in hot alcohol, ether or volatile oils.

Natural musk is found in a small bag secreted in the body of the musk deer, a small animal of the Himalayas. The quantity obtained from each animal is very small, varying from 6 drams to 1� oz., according to the size of the deer, consequently it is very expensive. It is a highly concentrated perfume, has the power of imparting permanency to very volatile perfumes, and is one of the most penetrating odours known. It is capable of being greatly diluted, and is extensively used for perfuming fine soaps and sachets.

Civet is a glandular secretion occurring in an outwardly discharging pocket underneath the tail of the civet-cat, which is sometimes bred in captivity in large numbers for the purpose of obtaining this substance, which is collected by means of a small spoon. Fresh civet is a whitish-yellow mass, of a nauseating odour; but when diluted, as in tincture, it has an agreeable scent, and is valued as a binder for other perfumes.

Castor is a secretion of the beaver, found in two pear-shaped bags on the abdomen of the animal. It is of a strong disagreeable odour, but when diluted has a pleasant smell, and is used in perfumery for fixing scents.

The following is a selected list of sources of perfumes:

Basil Oil. (Ocimum Basilicum.)  A herb 2-3 ft. high ; volatile oil obtained by distillation of the fresh shoots and leaves, used as an addition to violet perfumes. Cultivated in Reunion, Seychelles, etc.

Bay Oil. (Pimenta acris.) Oil distilled from the leaves used as a perfume for shaving soaps and in the hair-wash known as " Bay rum," etc.

Bergamot. (Citrus Bergamia.)�Bitter Orange. The peel yields a valuable perfume-oil known as " bergamot." About 1,000 peels are required to produce 30 oz. of the oil, which is usually valued at 35 shillings to 50 Shillings per lb., according to purity. The tree requires much the same treatment as the Sweet-orange, and in plantations is generally planted about 12 ft. apart each way. A variety of Bitter-orange, called the " Bigardier," is valued for its flowers, a kilogramme of which yields on an average 2 grammes of essence, which is usually worth from �12 to �18 per lb. according to quality and demand.

Carnations. (Dianthus.)�The flowers of scented varieties are used extensively in perfumery.

Cassia Oil. (Cinnamomum Cassia.) Used in scenting soaps, etc.

Cassie-flowers. (Acacia farnesiana.)�A small thorny tree or shrub, common in the tropics and subtropics, largely grown in S. France for the flowers, which yield by enfleurage a choice perfume.

Cedrat or Citron. (Citrus medico.)�A highly scented oil obtained from the rind is worth about 15 shillings. or more per lb. Used largely in handkerchief perfumes.

Citronella Oil. Used mainly for scenting toilet soaps, etc.

Clove Oil. Used for perfumery, scenting fine soaps, etc.

Eucalyptus Oil. Obtained from several species of Eucalyptus; that from E. citriodora, the Lemon-scented Gum, is of special value in the perfumery trade.

Frangipani. The odour of the white, cream or crimson, fleshy flowers of the Temple Tree (Plumeria spp.) closely resembles the perfume " frangipani," and it is considered that it would pay to extract the scent by enfleurage.

Geranium Oil. (Pelargonium capitatum, P. odoratissima, and P. roseum. Geraniaoeae.) Shrubby, fragrant plants, suited to a rather dry warm climate, cultivated extensively in Reunion, N. Africa and S. Europe. A delightful rose-scented oil, obtained by distillation from the strongly scented leaves and shoots, is usually worth about 3. to 5 shillings per oz. In plantations 5,500-6,000 plants are allowed to the acre, spacing being about 3 x 2 ft.; 3 clippings are obtained in one season, and replanting is done once in 4 years. Considerable quantities of the leaves are exported annually from Reunion for the extraction of the oil.

Jasmine. (Jasminum spp.)�The perfume or otto obtained from Jasmine flowers is one of the most prized by perfumers on account of its delicate odour, which it is said to be impossible to imitate, being usually worth about �9 per fluid ounce. In S. France about 5,000 Jasmine plants go to the acre, yielding about 5 cwt. of blossoms, sufficient to perfume 1� cwt. of fat. or pomade, valued at about 12s. per lb. J. Sambac is especially noted for its strongly scented flowers.

Lavender Oil. (Lavendula vera.)�Cultivated commercially in Europe both for its dried blossom, used for scenting wardrobes, and for the essential oil distilled from the fresh flowers. 3,720 lb. of flowers yield about 14 lb. of oil. English Lavender is considered the best in the market.

Lemon-grass or Verbena Oil. Commonly used for scenting soaps, being more valuable than Citronella oil.

Musk Mallow ; " Ambrette " of the French. (Hibiscus Abelmoschus.) An annual shrub with large, mallow-like flowers. Seeds yield an oil of a musk-like odour, used in inferior perfumes and worth about 1s. 6d. per lb.

Musk Plant. (Mimulus moschatus. Scrophulariaceae.)�A small creeping, herbaceous, viscid plant with yellow flowers. Until a few years ago this was a very popular garden plant in cool countries on account of its pleasant fragrance. It has now become entirely void of scent in every country, even in its native home of N. America, a puzzle to botanists and horticulturists.

Orris-root. The rhizomes of Iris florentina,. cultivated commercially in S. Europe. Dried and powdered, they are used in perfumes, cosmetics, etc.

Otto, or Attar, of Roses, obtained from rose petals (chiefly Rosa damascena or varieties), is perhaps the most valuable of all scents, and forms the basis of most superior perfumes. Cultivated extensively in Bulgaria in the form of hedges about 3 x 2 ft., say about 6,000 plants per acre. After the second year an acre is estimated to produce about 600 lb. of rose petals a year, and when 5 years old about 3,500 lb. 200 lb. of petals yield about 3 oz. of the otto, which is usually valued at �12 to �15 or more per oz. Some 500 lb. of otto are imported into England annually from Bulgaria. Rosa centifolia is cultivated in S. France for the production of " Oil of Rose " or " Rose essence."

Patchouly or Patchouli. The dried leaves and young tops yield by distillation a volatile oil from which is prepared an essence popular in India as well as in parts of Europe as a scent and used in the blending of perfumes.

Priprioca. (Ocotea (Mespilodaphne) pretiosa. Lauraceae.) A Brazilian tree, found in the forests of Amazonia. The leaves when bruised give off an agreeable odour, " recalling clove, cinnamon and bergamot; yield an oil known as " wood-oil " and recommended for use in perfumery, also as a spice.

Rosemary Oil, obtained by distillation from the herb Rosmarinus officinalis ; manufactured extensively in S. France, Spain, etc., for use in perfumery.

Tonka- or Tonquin-bean. Serappia (Venezuela). (Dipteryx odorata. Leguminosae.)�A large tree with pinnate leaves, native of Brazil, Venezuela, British Guiana, etc., introduced to Ceylon in 1881. The fruit is a small, oblong, fibrous pod, containing one almond-shaped black or brownish and strongly fragrant seed. The latter is the Tonka-bean of commerce which, on account of its odour of new-mown hay, due to the presence of coumarin, is especially valued in perfumery and used in the preparation of sachet powders, scenting soaps, tobacco, snuff, etc. " Tincture of tonka " is used by pastry-cooks and confectioners as a substitute for vanilla for flavouring. The seeds are subjected to a crystallisation process, being soaked in rum for 24 hours and then slowly dried, when they become covered with a white crystalline substance (coumarin). Tonka-beans fluctuate greatly in price, according to supply and demand, from about 4s. to 8s. per lb. D. oppositifolia also furnishes the commercial article to some extent.

Tuberose. (Polianthes tuberosa. Liliaceae.) A tuberous herbaceous plant, much cultivated in S. Europe for the perfume obtained by enfleurage from the strongly scented flowers. The plant thrives in up-country gardens.

Verbena Oil. Lemon-scented Verbena. (Lippia citriodora.) A small slender shrub with strongly fragrant leaves, from which is obtained an essential oil valued in perfumery ; native of Chile, cultivated in Morocco, etc., for the leaves.

Vetiver or Vetivert Oil distilled from the roots of Khas-khas or Khus-khus grass, much valued for use in perfumery, chiefly for fixing volatile odours and scenting high-class soaps. The powdered roots are used in Indian scents.

Wattle-blossom; "Mimosa" of florists. Acacia dealbata, A. pycnantha and "other species are richly scented and recommended for use in perfumery.

Wintergreen Oil, or Oil of Gaultheria, obtained from species of Gaultheria (Ericaceae), chiefly O. procumbens of N. America. 0. fragrantissima or " Walkapuru " is a small up-country shrub of Ceylon, India, etc. It is the heaviest of all essential oils, and is obtained from the leaves by distillation. Commercial Winter-green oil is also obtained by distilling the bark of Betula lenta, a species of Birch (Betulaceae).

Ylang-ylang, or Ilang-ilang ; Wana-Sapu, S. (Gananga odorata. Anonaceae.) A large, quick-growing, soft-wooded tree, 60-80 ft. high, native of the Philippines, Java, etc., sometimes cultivated for the large, greenish-yellow flowers, which are strongly scented and yield by distillation the popular scent known in the Philippines as " ylang-ylang " or " ilang-ilang," and in Java as " Cananga." A full-grown tree is considered to yield about 20 lb. of fresh flowers during a season. About 200 lb. of flowers produce 1 lb. of the essence. It is estimated that an acre planted with 150 trees (i.e. 17 x 17 ft. apart) produces some 3,000 lb. of flowers. The main supply, however, is from uncultivated trees from which the peasants collect the flowers, and sell them for about 2d. per lb. The annual export of ylang-ylang oil from the Philippines is valued at about �20,000. The oil is also produced in Madagascar and Java, where the tree is partly cultivated. The tree is naturalised in Ceylon, where, however, the flowers are not utilised. The oil is used for high-grade perfumes and usually commands from 10s. to 15s. per lb., Java oil generally fetching the highest price. The tree is readily propagated from seed.

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