FAMILY :: OLEACEAE
JASMINES are tropical or subtropical vines or shrubs, many of which are very highly prized for their scents. Most must be protected from freezing. They will grow fine in ordinary garden soil or potting mixtures. Keep the soils moist but provide good drainage. The Sambacs do not like temperatures below 60 degrees f. Some Officinalis varieties can take temperatures approaching freezing.
- AZORICUM: A climbing evergreen jasmine with clusters of fragrant 1″ white flowers throughout the year. Very floriferous-blooms longer than any jasmine listed here. It seems relatively hardy for a jasmine and is a very worthwhile specimen. From the Canary Islands.
- HUMILE-REVOLUTUM: Grows to 20′ and is almost tree- or large bush-like in form. Has loose clusters of fragrant 1″ yellow flowers sporadically throughout the year. One of the hardiest jasmines. I’ve seen a tree-like specimen over 12′ tall in the Berkeley Botanical Gardens in California. From Tropical Asia.
- NITIDUM: “ROYAL JASMINE” A very fragrant climbing variety with outstanding 2″ double white star flowers. From the South Pacific.
- OFFICINALE: “POET’S JASMINE” A climbing jasmine to 20′ with fragrant white ¾” flowers in clusters. This is the plant the old European poets used to write about. New poets probably write about some hybrid. Relatively hardy (maybe down to about 24° f.). True jasmine scent. From Persia.
- OFFICINALE ‘grandiflorum’ “PERFUME JASMINE: A nearly erect bush with 1½” double white, intensely fragrant flowers.
Personally, I consider the fragrance of the Perfume Jasmine to be almost obscene (I really love it). Since the puritans have taken over most of the world, anything sensual or sexual is NOW POPULARLY considered “obscene” and, in their opinions, should be banned or repressed or sublimated into more “constructive” activities such as war or genocide or imperialism or the construction of WalMarts.
The official and religious intolerance of any consensual sexual activity is merely sublimated perversion. Whether a person is Gay, Straight or Other, is nobody’s business except the people immediately involved.
Grown commercially in France for its oil. Originally from India. Here now.
- SAMBAC “TEA JASMINE,” PIKAKE: A tender tropical jasmine used as a flavoring of Chinese teas (to make an easy Jasmine tea, soak a handful of sambac flowers in a cup of warm water for approximately 30 minutes (drink directly or add to regular tea). Intensely scented white flowers. The flowers are also used in Leis in Hawaii. Native to India.
- BELLE OF INDIA:
- MAID OF ORLEAN: Sampaguita is the national flower of the Philippines. The flowers are doubled and the fragrance is strong.
In 1934 Governor-General Frank Murphy proclaimed in Proclamation Number 652 this variety a national symbol. “Sentiment has dictated the selection of national flowers either symbolical of certain national or sentiments, or reminiscent of some important historical or traditional events…” “…France has her fleur-de-lis and Japan her cherry blossom,” he said. “In the same way the Philippines should have her national flower…” “…Considering its popularity, ornamental value, fragrance and the role it plays in the legends and traditions of the Filipino people, I hereby declare the sampaguita to be the national flower of the Philippine Islands. Done at the City of Manila, this first day of February, in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and thirty four.”
“Sumpa kita,” means “I promise you” in Filipino. It’s a pledge of mutual love. In olden days, a young couple would exchange sampaguita necklaces much like a bride and groom exchange wedding rings. To this day, garlands of sampaguita are offered to dignitaries and special guests.
In 1698 Ignacio Mercado, an Augustinian monk, first wrote about the medicinal use in the Declaracion de las virtudes de los arboles y plantas que estan en este libro. Mercado said that the leaves of the sampaga (which has bigger flowers than sampaguita) made a syrup to comfort the heart. The vapor was a good cure for asthma.
Local names include: Bela, Campopot, Gundi Mullige, Kulatai, Lei Pikake, Lumabi, Mallipoo, Malur, Manul, Mograw, Motiya Pongso, Sambac and Sampagung, Tea Jasmine.
- VOLUBILE: A small-growing vine with dark green, shiny leaves and very fragrant small white flowers.
- Top Tropicals: An excellent nursery with fine plants (and much information) in Punto Gordo, Florida. The photos on their website are exquisite