There is a demand for novel products for the control of plant-parasitic nematodes, so we characterised the effectiveness of some plant essential oils against Meloidogyne incognita and verified the efficiency of the major component from the most toxic oils and their analogues using in vitro and in vivo assays. In this study, the essential oils from Piptadenia viridiflora, Hyptis suaveolens and Astronium graveolens against M. incognita were evaluated, but only P. viridiflora oil showed toxicity toward M. incognita. Benzaldehyde was its main component according to GC-MS analysis. In in vitro assays, benzaldehyde (100 and 200 μg ml−1) and its oxime (400 μg ml−1) caused a higher rate of M. incognita second-stage juvenile (J2) mortality than the nematicide carbofuran (170 μg ml−1). Reductions of more than 90% in the number of galls and eggs, even greater than that observed with carbofuran, were observed in the assay where the J2 were placed in solutions of benzaldehyde and its oxime 48 h prior to tomato plant inoculation. Application of benzaldehyde together with M. incognita J2 to the substrate resulted only in a reduction in the number of eggs (42-65%); however, its oxime reduced both the number of galls (43-84%) and eggs (23-89%). Therefore, the P. viridiflora oil, its major component benzaldehyde, and the analogue benzaldehyde oxime are toxic to M. incognita. In two different in vivo assays, benzaldehyde oxime was confirmed as toxic to M. incognita with a greater efficacy than benzaldehyde.