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Chinese Perfume Tree

Chinese Perfume Tree

Aglaia odorata

  • Common Name: Chinese Perfume Tree (other common names: Aglaia Species, Chinese Perfume Plant, Chinese Rice Flower, Mock Lemon)
  • Scientific Name: Aglaia odorata
  • Family Name: Meliaceae
  • Origin: Southeastern Asia - regions of China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
  • Height: 15’ – 20’
  • Width: 8’ – 10’
  • Growth: easy to grow and low maintenance, this tree is dioecious meaning; male and female flowers are on separate plants. Only the pollinated female flowers will produce fruit, but fruiting is very rare.
  • Zone: 10A - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun – Partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance: 
  • Soil/PH/Texture: prefers moderately fertile, well-drained soils that are mildly acidic – neutral (pH 6.1 – 7.5)
  • Soil Moisture: medium - water moderately but consistently, allow the soils to dry somewhat but not completely between watering, but never to dry out completely, and avoid wet soils.
  • Drought Tolerance: unknown
  • Pests/Diseases: No serious insects or diseases, (watch for mealybugs).
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: can be a tree or shrub, yellow green foliage, pinnate compound leaves 2” - 5” in length, typically have 3 (infrequently 5 or 7) ovate to elliptic leaflets 3” - 4” long, has numerous tiny rounded blooms that are bright yellow, ball-shaped, have a lemony fragrance, and bloom year-round repeatedly.
  • Propagation: by semi-hardwood cuttings and air layering, (does not set seed, flowers are sterile, and plants will not come true from any seed that may be produced).
  • Wildlife: unknown
  • Facts: In Hawaii, the flowers are used to make leis and to wear in the hair. It is also a member of the mahogany family. Many parts of this tree, such as roots, flowers, leaves, and branches, are used in traditional medicine such as orodine and ororinol which have cancer chemo preventative activity.
  • Designer Considerations: use as a hedge, specimen, or container plant, a small tree in the landscape, and also makes a beautiful houseplant.