One cannot simply come across a jasmine flower and not take a moment to catch a whiff of its sweet floral fragrance. It seems impossible that such a small flower can exude such a strong, fragrant smell.
From teapots to flowerpots, with its beautiful, sweet flowers, and its many beneficial uses, jasmine is definitely a flower worth having in a garden.
Jasmine or Jessamine in Arabic literally means “Gift from God”. It is the common name for plant species under the genus Jasminum from the Olive family (Oleaceae). This family consists of a wide group of plants with 29 genera and 600 species, all are known for their oils which are utilized in various industries.
The genus Jasminum houses more than 200 plant species of which 50 species are cultivated (2).
They are one of the oldest cultivated ornamental plants appearing in old texts and mural paintings as late as 250 B.C. Jasmine is said to have originated from the Himalayas region where they are utilized by indigenous people for culinary and traditional practices.
In China, jasmine tea is prepared by mixing jasmine flowers with tea leaves to add aroma. Garlands made of jasmine flowers are a favorite offering and adornment in altars in some Asian countries.
Jasmine is even considered as the national flower of some countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines (1).
Jasmine As An Ornamental Plant
Although nowadays they are widespread across the world, jasmines are native to the tropics and subtropics. Many species of jasmine are quite hardy which is why they are favored by horticulturists and hobbyists alike. Jasmines are deciduous shrubs, but some varieties are climbers.
Common jasmine species are Spanish Jasmine (J. grandiflorum), Arabic Jasmine (J. sambac) Common Jasmine (J. officinale), Italian Jasmine (J. humile), Angelwing Jasmine (J. nitidum), King Jasmine (J. rex), and Winter Jasmine (J. nudiflorum) (1).
Arabian Jasmine and Common Jasmine have many cultivars that varies among each other based on their leaves and flowers. Popular Arabian Jasmine cultivars include the Maid of Orleans, Grand Duke of Tuskany, and Dundamali while the popular ones for the Common Jasmine are Devon Cream, Crug’s Collection, and Frojas (3).
The leaves differ in shape and size, with a lush green color that may be waxy or velvety. The flowers are almost exclusively white with exceptions of some colored species such as the Winter Jasmine. The flowers bloom in clusters and may be simple, one-layered flowers or grand, multiple-layered flowers resembling a rose.
The flowers have a sweet floral scent with the buds having a stronger fragrance. Some varieties, though, lack this signature fragrance such as the Winter Jasmine but they make up for it with their beautiful yellow flowers (2).
Another treasured cultivar of jasmine is the pink flowered Jasminum x staphense, a hybrid of the Common Jasmine with the Red Jasmine (J. beesianum) (1).
Jasmine As A Medicinal Plant
Jasmine plants are used by many Asian countries for their folkloric or traditional medicines. The flowers are very popular for their use in aromatherapy. In traditional Chinese medicine, jasmine flowers are used as an antispasmodic and as an ingredient to treat lymphoma and hepatitis.
In Hindu medicine, the leaves of Spanish Jasmine are used as a remedy for skin diseases (4).
The flowers are also used in Ayurveda to heal wounds, and as an aphrodisiac. Some wild varieties of jasmine are even reported to have potential antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties (5).
Aside from the medical industry, the cosmetic industry also benefits greatly from jasmines (6).
Jasmine essential oils extracted from jasmine flowers are used as a base note in perfumery, and to add scent in various cosmetic products. Harvesting jasmine oil requires a lot of flowers to be used. In fact, eight thousand flowers will only yield one gram of jasmine oil. That is equal to only about 25 drops of oil (1)!
The variations in the growth habit of jasmine plants coupled by their lush green foliage and elegant flowers make them a perfect choice as an ornamental plant.
They can be grown as shrubs, hedges, trellis vine, groundcover or as potted plants to be placed indoors. And to cap it off, its fragrance could really freshen up one’s home or garden.
Jasmine can tolerate a wide range of soil types provided it is a well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.
Jasmine plants can tolerate partial shade but in order to achieve abundant flowering, they should be exposed to full sunlight with sufficient irrigation. They do not tolerate waterlogged and saline conditions. Jasmines also require regular application of fertilizer depending on the variety (1).
Up Next: Jasmine Flower Meaning and Symbolism
(1) Cumo C.M. 2013. Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO, USA. pp. 535-538.
(2) eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet; http://www.efloras.org [accessed 23 September 2019]
(3) Joshi H. Jasmines. 2019. AGROHORTICO, Gardening. pp. 3-22.
(4) Khidzir K.M. Cheng S.F. Chuah C.H. 2015. Interspecies variation of chemical constituents and antioxidant capacity of extracts from Jasminum sambac and Jasminum multiflorum grown in Malaysia. Industrial Crops and Products. Vol. 74. pp. 635-641.
(5) Padmaa. M. Paarakh. 2009. Antibacterial activity of Jasminum grandiflorum Linn leaves. JPR: BioMedRx: An International Journal, Vol 2, No 7.
(6) Panda H. Cultivation and Utilization of Aromatic Plants. 2005. Asia Pacific Business Press Inc. pp. 221-239.
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