Jasminum commonly known as jasmines, is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers.
See also: Glossary of botanical terms
Jasmines can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne opposite or alternate. They can be simple, trifoliate, or pinnate. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish. The flowers are borne in
with a minimum of three flowers, though they can also be solitary on the ends of branchlets. Each flower has about four to nine petals, two locules, and one to four ovules. They have two stamens with very short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually very fragrant. The fruits of jasmines are berries that turn black when ripe.
The basic chromosome number of the genus is 13, and most species are diploid (2n=26). However, natural polyploidy exists, particularly in Jasminum sambac (2n=39), Jasminum flexile (2n=52), Jasminum primulinum (2n=39), and Jasminum angustifolium (2n=52).
Distribution and habitat
Jasmines are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australasia.Of the 200 species, only one is native to Europe.Their center of diversity is in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Although not native to Europe, a number of jasmine species have become naturalized in Mediterranean Europe. For example the so-called Spanish jasmine or Catalonian jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) was originally from Iran and western South Asia and is now naturalized in the Iberian peninsula.Jasminum fluminense (which is sometimes known by the inaccurate name "Brazilian Jasmine") and Jasminum dichotomum (Gold Coast
are invasive species in Hawaii and Florida.Jasminum polyanthum also known as White Jasmine is an invasive weed in Australia.
Species belonging to genus Jasminum are classified under the tribe Jasmineae of the olive family (Oleaceae).Jasminum is divided into five sections—Alternifolia, Jasminum, Primulina, Trifoliolata, and Unifoliolata.
The genus name is derived from the Persian Yasameen ("gift from God") through Arabic and Latin.
Main article: List of Jasminum species
J. abyssinicum Hochst. ex DC.
– forest jasmine
J. adenophyllum Wall.
– bluegrape jasmine, pinwheel jasmine, princess jasmine
J. angulare Vahl
J. angustifolium (L.) Willd.
J. auriculatum Vahl
– Indian hasmine, needle-flower jasmine
J. azoricum L.
J. beesianum Forrest & Diels
– red jasmine
J. dichotomum Vahl
– Gold Coast jasmine
J. didymum G.Forst.
J. dispermum Wall.
J. elegans Knobl.
J. elongatum (P.J.Bergius) Willd.
J. floridum Bunge
J. fluminense Vell.
J. fruticans L.
J. grandiflorum L.
– Catalonian jasmine, jasmin odorant, royal jasmine, Spanish jasmine
J. humile L.
– Italian jasmine, Italian yellow jasmine
J. anceolarium Roxb.
J. mesnyi Hance
– Japanese jasmine, primrose jasmine, yellow jasmine
J. multiflorum (Burm.f.) Andrews
– Indian jasmine, star jasmine, winter jasmine
J. multipartitum Hochst.
– starry wild jasmine
J. nervosum Lour.
J. nobile C.B.Clarke
J. nudiflorum Lindl.
– winter jasmine
J. odoratissimum L.
– yellow jasmine
J. officinale L.
– common jasmine, jasmine, jessamine, poet's jasmine, summer jasmine, white jasmine
J. parkeri Dunn
– dwarf jasmine
J. polyanthum Franch.
J. sambac (L.) Aiton
– Arabian jasmine, Sambac jasmine
J. simplicifolium G.Forst.
J. sinense Hemsl.
J. subhumile W.W.Sm.
J. subtriplinerve Blume
J. tortuosum Willd.
J. urophyllum Hemsl.
Cultivation and uses
Widely cultivated for its flowers, jasmine is enjoyed in the garden, as a house plant, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia. The delicate jasmine flower opens only at night and may be plucked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed, then stored in a cool place until night. The petals begin to open between six and eight in the evening, as the temperature
Jasmine tea is consumed in China, where it is called jasmine-flower tea.Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make jasmine tea, which often has a base of green tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. Flowers and tea are "mated" in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes four hours or so for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms, and for the highest grades, this
be repeated as many as seven times. Because the tea has absorbed moisture from the flowers, it must be refired to prevent spoilage. The spent flowers may or may not be removed from the final product, as the flowers are completely dry and contain no aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves. If present, they simply add visual appeal and are no indication of the quality of the tea.
In Okinawa, Japan, jasmine tea is known as sanpin cha
Jasmine syrup, made from jasmine flowers, is used as a flavouring.
Jasmine essential oil
Jasmine is considered an absolute and not an essential oil as the petals of the flower are much too delicate and would be destroyed by the distillation process used in creating essential oils. Other than the processing method it is essentially the same as an essential oil. Absolute is a technical term used to denote the process of extraction. It is in common use. Its flowers are either extracted by the labour-intensive method
or through chemical extraction. It is expensive due to the large number of flowers needed to produce a small amount of oil. The flowers have to be gathered at night because the odour of jasmine is more powerful after dark. The flowers are laid out on cotton cloths soaked in olive oil for several days and then extracted leaving the true jasmine essence. Some of the countries producing jasmine essential oil are India, Egypt, China and Morocco.
Jasmine absolute used in perfume and incense
Many species also yield an absolute, which is used in perfumes and incense. Its chemical constituents include methyl anthranilate, indole, benzyl alcohol, linalool, and skatole.
Main article: Jasmonate
Jasmine gave name to the jasmonate plant hormones as methyl jasmonate isolated from the jasmine oil of Jasminum grandiflorum led to the discovery of the molecular structure of jasmonates.
Throughout India, especially in the western and southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, jasmine (along with many other flowers, including roses) is cultivated in private homes, within gardens or as potted plants. These flowers are used in regular worship at home as well as for hair ornaments (for the girls and women of the house). Jasmine is also cultivated commercially, for
both the domestic
purposes discussed above and other purposes (such as use in the perfume industry). It is used in rituals like marriages, religious ceremony, and festivals. In the Chandan Yatra of lord Jagannath, the deity is bathed with water flavored in sandalwood paste and jasmine.Madurai Jasmine(Madurai Malli) very famous in southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Jasmine flower vendors selling ready-made garlands of jasmine, or in the case of the thicker motiyaa (in Hindi) or mograa (in Marathi) varietal, bunches of jasmine, as well as flowers by weight, are a common sight on city streets in many parts of India. They may be found around entrances to temples, on major thoroughfares, and in major business areas (including bus stands). This is common as far north as Mumbai, and generally
southward through all of South India. Jasmine vendors may also be found in Kolkata, though roadside sales are fewer there, since in North India women and girls generally, by tradition, do not wear flowers in their hair.
A change in presidency in Tunisia in 1987 and the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 are both called "Jasmine revolutions" in reference to the flower. Jasmine flowers were also used as a symbol during the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests in the People's Republic of China.
In Syria, jasmine is the symbolic flower of Damascus, which is called the City of Jasmine. In Thailand, jasmine flowers are used as a symbol for motherhood.
"Jasmine" is also popular feminine given name in many countries.
Jasmine as the national flower
Several countries and states consider jasmine as a national symbol. They are the following:
*Hawaii: Jasminum sambac ("pikake") is perhaps the most popular of flowers. It is often strung in leis and is the subject of many songs.
*Indonesia: Jasminum sambac is the national flower, adopted in 1990. It goes by the name "melati putih" and is the most important flower in wedding ceremonies for ethnic Indonesians, especially in the island of Java.
*Pakistan: Jasminum officinale is known as the "chambeli" or "yasmin", it is the national flower.
*Philippines: Jasminum sambac is the national flower. Adopted in 1935, it is known as "sampaguita" in the islands. It is usually strung in garlands which are then used to adorn religious images.