Wax Jasmine: Jasminum simplicifolium

Jasminum simplicifolium in * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * – April 2011

Jasminum simplicifolium: Jasmine

Common Names: Wax Jasmine, Simple Jasmine, Jasmine.

Taxonomy: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Asterids; Lamiales; Oleaceae; Jasmineae; Jasminum simplicifolium. Other species include Jasminum abyssinicum (Forest Jasmine), J. adenophyllum (Pinwheel or Princess Jasmine), J. angulare, J. auriculatum, J. dichotomum (Gold Coast Jasmine), J. didymum, J. grandiflorum (Spanish Jasmine / Royal Jasmine), and J. humile (Italian Yellow Jasmine) as the most prevalent. Others include but are not limied to J. lanceolarium, mesnyi Hance, multiflorum Hance, multipartitum Hochst, nervosum Lour, nudiflorum Lindl., odoratissimum L., offininale L., parkeri Dunn, polyanthum Franch., sambac, sinense Hemsl., urophyllum Hemsl. to name a few.

Location/Environment: Grows best in moist, well drained soils with full sun or partial shade. Native to warm temperate climates, tropical regions, especially within the Old World. Similiar species found throughout the Americas and Australia. The species fluminense and dichotomum is seen as a invasive species in Hawaii and Florida.

Description: A creeper, shrub, and/or vine, coming from the Olive family, Jasmine has over two hundred different species. The term “Jasminum” comes from the Arabic/Persian “Yasameen” meaning “gift from God”. It is revered as a botanical essence in some regions and as a weed in others. The green leaves of the plant are either deciduous (brown in fall) or evergreen (green year round) depending on the species and region they are found. Along the opposite pinnate or ternate dark green leaves in three pairs with an odd one and are pointed with terminals larger with a tapering point. These reside on the vine-like branches or woody stalks of the shrub, are delicate 5-8 cleft calyx white or yellow flowers with a cylindrical corolla-tube with a spreading limb blooming from June to October, that open between 6-8 pm evenings when temperatures lower exposing two stamens and a two-celled ovary, and close at first heat of the day. Jasmine officinale has oval, shiny leaves and tubular, waxy-white flowers. Each species has a variable differences. Yellow Jasmine or False Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) has the jasmine fragrance, but also contains toxic alkaloids that are extremely poisonous. Care needs to be taken not to harvest such flowers for internal consumption or use on skin. The vine or branches can grow upwards of twelve to twenty feet, with a feeble stem.

Cultivation: The plant is mainly cultivated for its flowers as a garden ornamental in the yard, or as a house plant.

Common Uses: Most popular for its scent, it is used in various perfumes, essential oils, incense, and fragrances. Flowers are cultivated for ornamental purposes in gardens and houses as well as for its cut flowers. Flowers are worn in women’s hair in many parts of Asia for decoration. The essential oil is an expensive process to make as a large amount of flowers is required to create a small amount of oil, and the fact the flowers have to be gathered at night, then run through labor intensive procedures for extraction. These essential oils are commonly made in Morocco, China, India, and Egypt. Also used to produce jasmone, benzyl acetate, linalool, linalyl acetate, and benzyl alcohol. Long slender pipestems are made from Jasmine wood in Catalonia and Turkey.

Culinary: Jasmine is used in syrup and as a tea. The tea, most commonly called “jasmine tea”, is made from the jasminum sambac flowers mixed into a base of green or oolong tea commonly brewed in China or as “Sanpin Cha” in Okinawa Japan. Blossoms are also poured onto green tea to make dragon pearl tea. The French make a jasmine syrup from the jasmine flower extracts and in the United States is mused to make jasmine marshmallows and scones. Contrary to popular thought, Jasmine flowers have nothing to do with jasmine rice, except sharing a similar scent.

Medicinal: J. officinale Jasmine flowers are used to regulate cramps, ease digestion, ease childbirth, IBS, and Hormone Balance, and good as a facial cream. Jasmine is an anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, astringent, anti-cancer, emmenagogue, galactagogue, parturient, sedative, and uterine tonic. The oil, when mixed in a tonic, aids cold weak stomachs as well as digestion. It can also relieve uterine spasms and menstrual pain. Should not be used during pregnancy. Be careful with the particular species. Some species are poisonous and have been known to cause death, coma, dilated pupils, snoring respiration, cold and pale surfaces, slow and feeble pulses, violent convulsions, and rigidity of muscle around head and throat (most common in the Americas). Jasminum angustifolium has a bitter root when if ground and mixed with Acorus calamus makes a external application for ringworm. Jasminum nervosum is taken as a blood purifier. Jasminum floribundum is used mixed with kousso as a powerful anthelmintic to rid one of tapeworm while leaves and branches are added to fermented liquors to increase intoxication ability.

Folklore and Magic: Jasmine flowers are used as an aphrodisiac and to attract love, wealth, and dreams of prophecy. Commonly used as offerings to deities and nature spirits, Jasmine flowers are very common as sacred symbols in marriages and romances. Common for regular worship and to attract love when worn in hair as ornamentation. The plant represents “night magic” symbolizing mystery, love, psychic dreams, and enchantment. The vapors are used to uplift spirit, create a sensual aroma, and ease apathy, depression, menopausal disorders, and lack of confidence. It also has a profound effect on frigidity and impotence. It is believed to relieve the pain of childbirth, relaxing the mother, and thought to increase breast milk production. It also acts on male sexual organs – warming and strengthening them.

Mythology: The flower is a powerful symbol in many different cultures, especially in Syria as the symbol of Damascus which is otherwise known as the City of Jasmine. In Thailand, the jasmine flower symbolizes “the mother”. It is also the “national flower” in Indonesia, Tunisia, and utilized is many wedding ceremonies. It is also a national flower in Pakistan and the Phillippines. Very popular in Hawaii, it is weaved into leis. The Hindu also weave these flowers together into neck garlands for welcoming guests. As the double variety species is sacred to Vishnu, they are used as votive offerings in Hindu ceremonies. In India, it is believed that a princess fell hopelessly in love with the sun god Surya-Deva, who spurns her affection as he was unmoved by her beauty. She became devastated and took her own life. Her ashes were scattered and wherever they fell, out grew the jasmine flower, which due to her heart being broken by the sun God, refuse to open during the day so he can see, but rather at night when he cannot see her.

Photos from:

Australian National Botanical Gardens*
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

Bibliography and Recommended Reading:

  • Absolute Astronomy ~ Jasminum; by unknown author; notes taken from web site in 2011; Absolute Astronomy; www.absoluteastronomy.com.
  • Australian National Botanical Gardens ~ Jasminum simplicifolium; by unknown author; notes take from web site in 2011; ANBG: www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Australian Native Plants Society ~ Jasminum simplicifolium; by unknown author; notes taken from web site in 2011; ANPSA; www.anpsa.org.au.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust ~ Jasminum simplicifolium; by unknown author; notes taken from web site in 2011; RBGSYN: www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia ~ Jasminum simplicifolium; by unknown author; notes taken from web site in 2011; wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Articles and Research papers are done at the Author’s expense. If you donate below, you’ll help contribute to the costs of the research that provided this article. Any Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

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