When Should We Harvest Ylang Ylang?
Only if you grow, plant, harvest, and understand what is supposed to be in a plant can you produce the finest quality of oil with all its constituents. Anybody can print a GC (gas chromatograph), but to truly know the quality of oil, you must also understand how a GC and an MS (mass spectrometer) are operated and how to identify the compounds and the percentages of them.
However, there is more to it than that. You must know the best time of day to pick the leaves or flowers or harvest the entire plant from the field. In other words, you must know the best time of the day to harvest, when the Brix measurement is the highest, which measures the glucose levels in the plant, to determine the best time to extract for the greatest quantity of essential oil.
For example, the best time to pick ylang ylang flowers, when the Brix measurement is the highest, is from midnight to 4 in the morning. But it is hard to get people to pick during that time. So we pick from daylight until 10 a.m., because we have found that the oil volume is maintained until about 10 o’clock, and then we will start losing some of the oil as it leaves the flowers and returns to the branches.
That is the reason that when we smell the flowers in the afternoon, the fragrance won’t be as intense, because the oil has gone back into the tree during the heat of the day to protect the tree from dehydration. Then at night as the temperature cools, the oil comes back up into the flower. It is very, very interesting to see how the tree preserves itself.