A new high-performance liquid chromatographic method with photodiode array detection was established for the determination of linalool in the plant Michelia alba. Linalool was extracted from the plant sample with the aid of ultrasound, and was analyzed on a Waters RP C(18) column (4.6 x 150 mm, 5 microm) using an acetonitrile and water (55:45, v/v) mobile phase at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min. The column temperature was set at 25 degrees C, and the detection wavelength was 210 nm. The linear range of the method was 5-200 microg/mL with a correlation coefficient of 0.9975. The recovery was 92-112%, and the relative standard deviation was 1.85% (n = 9). The present method has been used to study the distribution of linalool in the plant Michelia alba. The plant samples include flowers, leaves and tender twigs. Furthermore, leaves included samples in their tender, grown-up and fallen phases, and flowers included samples in their juvenile, middle and whitening phases. The concentrations of linalool in different parts of the plant were 0.21-0.65%, 1.63-4.89% and 0.43% for leaves, flowers and tender twigs, respectively. The results showed that all the plant materials contained relative high concentration of linalool, and juvenile phase flowers contained the highest concentration of linalool. Notably, the fallen leaves also contained high concentrations of linalool, which could be a potential resource of this compound. The results obtained are very helpful for the potential full utilization of this plant.