Jasmine (taxonomic nameJasminum/ˈjæsmnəm/) 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 Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers. A number of unrelated plants contain the word "Jasmine" in their common names (see ).

Description

Jasmine 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 cymose clusters with a minimum of three flowers, though they can additionally 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 quite short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually quite 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). Notwithstanding natural polyploidy exists, particularly in Jasminum sambac (2n=39), Jasminum flexile (2n=52), Jasminum mesnyi (2n=39), and Jasminum angustifolium (2n=52).

Distribution and habitat

Jasmines are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania, although only one of the 200 species is native to Europe. Their center of diversity is in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

A number of jasmine species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe. For example, the so-called Spanish jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) was originally from Iran and western South Asia, and is now naturalised in the Iberian peninsula.

Jasminum fluminense (which is at times known by the inaccurate name "Brazilian Jasmine") and Jasminum dichotomum (Gold Coast Jasmine) are invasive species in Hawaii and Florida. Jasminum polyanthum, additionally known as White Jasmine, is an invasive weed in Australia.

Taxonomy

Species belonging to genusJasminum are classified under the tribeJasmineae of the olive family (Oleaceae). Jasminum is divided into five sectionsAlternifolia, Jasminum, Primulina, Trifoliolata, and Unifoliolata.

The genus name is derived from the PersianYasameen ("gift from God") through Arabic and Latin.

Selected species

A double-flowered cultivar of Jasminum sambac in flower with an unopened bud. The flower smells like the tea as it opens.

Species include:

  • J. abyssinicumHochst. ex DC. – forest jasmine
  • J. adenophyllumWall. – bluegrape jasmine, pinwheel jasmine, princess jasmine
  • J. angulareVahl
  • J. angustifolium(L.) Willd.
  • J. auriculatumVahl – Indian hasmine, needle-flower jasmine
  • J. azoricumL.
  • J. beesianumForrest & Diels – red jasmine
  • J. dichotomumVahl – Gold Coast jasmine
  • J. didymumG.Forst.
  • J. dispermumWall.
  • J. elegansKnobl.
  • J. elongatum(P.J.Bergius) Willd.
  • J. floridumBunge
  • J. fluminenseVell.
  • J. fruticansL.
  • J. grandiflorumL. – Catalonian jasmine, jasmin odorant, royal jasmine, Spanish jasmine
  • J. humileL. – Italian jasmine, Italian yellow jasmine
  • J. anceolariumRoxb.
  • J. mesnyiHance – Japanese jasmine, primrose jasmine, yellow jasmine
  • J. multiflorum(Burm.f.) Andrews – Indian jasmine, star jasmine, winter jasmine
  • J. multipartitumHochst. – starry wild jasmine
  • J. nervosumLour.
  • J. nobileC.B.Clarke
  • J. nudiflorumLindl. – winter jasmine
  • J. odoratissimumL. – yellow jasmine
  • J. officinaleL. – common jasmine, jasmine, jessamine, poet's jasmine, summer jasmine, white jasmine
  • J. parkeriDunn – dwarf jasmine
  • J. polyanthumFranch.
  • J. sambac(L.) Aiton – Arabian jasmine, Sambac jasmine
  • J. simplicifoliumG.Forst.
  • J. sinenseHemsl.
  • J. subhumileW.W.Sm.
  • J. subtriplinerveBlume
  • J. tortuosumWilld.
  • J. urophyllumHemsl.
bunch of jasmine flowers

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.

Jasmine tea

Green tea with jasmine flowers

Jasmine tea is often consumed in China, where it is called jasmine-flower tea (茉莉花茶; pinyin: mò lì huā chá). Jasminum sambac flowers are additionally used to make jasmine tea, which often has a base of green tea or white tea, but at times an Oolong base is used. The flowers are put in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes about four hours for the jasmine blossoms to absorb the fragrance and flavour. For the highest grades of jasmine tea, this process might be repeated up to seven times. It must be refired to prevent spoilage. The used flowers might be removed from the final product, as the flowers contain no more aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves.

In Okinawa, Japan, jasmine tea is known as sanpin cha (さんぴん茶).

Jasmonates

Jasmine gave name to the jasmonate plant hormones, as methyl jasmonate isolated from the oil of Jasminum grandiflorum led to the discovery of the molecular structure of jasmonates.

Cultural importance

Madurai, a city in Tamil Nadu is famous for its jasmine production. In the western and southern states of India, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, jasmine is cultivated in private homes. These flowers are used in worship and for hair ornaments. Jasmine is additionally cultivated commercially, for both the domestic and industrial uses, such as the perfume industry. It is used in rituals like marriages, religious ceremonies and festivals. In the Chandan Yatra of lord Jagannath, the deity is bathed with water flavoured with sandalwood and jasmine.

Jasmine flower vendors sell garlands of jasmine, or in the case of the thicker motiyaa (in Hindi) or mograa (in Marathi) varieties, bunches of jasmine are a common sight in a large number of parts of India. They might be found around entrances to temples, on major thoroughfares, and in major business areas.

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 additionally used as a symbol throughout the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests in the People's Republic of China.

"Jasmine" is additionally a female forename.

Jasmine as a national flower

Several countries and states consider jasmines 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 a large number of 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 on 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.
  • Syria: The Syrian city Damascus is additionally called City of Jasmine and uses it as a symbol.
  • Thailand: Jasmine flowers are used as a symbol of motherhood.

Other plants called "Jasmine"

bunch of jasmine buds