Madagascar is endowed with a very rich and diverse indigenous aromatic flora that has great economic value. Some essential oils extracted from these indigenous and also from introduced plants, such as ylang-ylang and other oils, have been sold in the international market for many years.
The essential oil of ravintsara is obtained from the leaves of a tree (Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl), which was introduced from Taiwan as an ornamental tree and now grows widely in Madagascar, with increased demand from the international market. This essential oil has often been misreported and traded as ravensara, or Ravensara aromatica. The true ravensara (R. aromatica) essential oil is extracted from the leaves of an endemic species locally known as “havozo,” or “hazomanitra,” which means “aromatic tree” in the Malagasy language.This species was also described under the botanical names of R. anisata Danguy9 and Agathophyllum aromaticum Willd. However, R. aromatica Sonn. is the correct botanical name and has precedence over these synonyms.
The taxonomical confusion, translation similarities of the common names and the lack of regional, national and international quality standards continue to allow the misidentifi cation of these oils in the marketplace.