Jasminum: Jasmine

Family: Oleaceae
Common name: Jasmine

The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Jasmine is the fragrance. There are over 200 species of jasmines with variations in fragrance, size, shape, number of petals, type of plant and even color. Yes, not all jasmines are white as you would imagine! The most common one, Jasminum Officinale is supposed to have the best fragrance, but it’s a highly subjective matter.

Jasmine plants could be shrubby, climbing or spreading. They are primarily seen in Asiatic countries, though there are native species in Australia and Europe. India women wear jasmine flowers on their hair, the garlands having white and orange flowers from the firecracker flower plants. Flower garlands are used for deities and also for decorations during weddings and festivals.

All temples in South India would have a small stall outside, selling jasmine flowers. Jasmine scented perfumes are also very popular in Asia.

Interesting facts:

  • Jasmine tea is made by soaking jasmine flowers in tea for over 4 hours so that the tea absorbs all the flavor and fragrance of jasmine.
  • Jasmine oil is supposed to elevate the mood and help in overcoming stress
  • One of the species, Cestrum nocturnum has no smell at all during the day, but a very heavy, heady fragrance that can spread to several meters during the night.

Propagation is from stem cuttings.

Photo Courtesy: Leena Damle, Ons