Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jasmine is not Just Jasmine

Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines in the Oleaceae family, with about 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. 

The most famous is probably Jasminum sambac, the Arabian jasmine.  Despite its English common name, J. sambac is not originally native to Arabia.  It was from South and S.E. Asia, and were spread into Arabia.  From there, they were introduced to Europe. 

Jasminum sambac
Family : Oleaceae
Common name : Arabian Jasmine, 茉莉花
Description : evergreen shrub, flower : white, fragrant, clusters, zygomorphic, multiple petals, full bloom at night
Origin : South Asia, S.E.Asia
Uses : ornamental, jasmine tea, national flowers of the Philippine & Indonesia, leis, corsages, crowns

The word 'jasmine' also loosely refers to many other flowers not of Jasminum genus or Oleaceae family.  

Cestrum nocturnum
Family : Solanaceae
Common name : Night-blooming Jasmine, lady of the Night, 夜来香,夜香木
Description : evergreen woody shrub, flower : greenish-white, cymose inflorescences, zygomorphic, tubular corolla 5 lobed, full bloom at night
Origin : tropical America
Uses : ornamental

Gardenia jasminoides
Family : Rubiaceae
Common name : Cape Jasmine, Common Gardenia, 栀子花
Description : evergreen woody shrub, flower : white, fragrant, solitary, zygomorphic, multiple petals
Origin : Asia
Uses : depicted in Chinese paintings, fruit for Chinese traditional medicine & dye, ornamental

Gelsemium sempervirens
Family : Gelsemiaceae
Common name : Yellow Jasmine, Carolina Jasmine, Evening Trumpet flower, Woodbine
Description : evergreen liana, flower : yellow, fragrant, clusters, zygomorphic, bell-shaped, corolla 5 lobed
Origin : tropical America
Uses : ornamental, toxic, state flower of South Carolina

Millingtonia hortensis
Family : Bignoniaceae
Common name : Tree Jasmine, Indian Cork Tree, 烟筒花
Description : evergreen tree, flower : white, fragrant, panicles, bisexual, zygomorphic, long tube, corolla 5 lobed
Origin : S.E.Asia
Uses : wood for timber, bark for cork, leaves for tobacco substitute

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
Family : Oleaceae
Common name : Night Flowering Jasmine, Coral Jasmine
Description : evergreen shrub, flower : white with orange-red center, fragrant, cluster of 2-7, zygomorphic, 5-8 lobed, full bloom at night
Origin : Southern Asia
Uses : Ayurvedic medicine

Trachelospermum jasminoides
Family : Apocynaceae
Common name : Star Jasmine, Confederate Jasmine, Trader’s Compass, 络石 , 百花藤
Description : evergreen liana, flower : white, fragrant, clusters, zygomorphic, tube-liked, corolla 5 lobed
Origin : East Asia
Uses : ornamental

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