Regularity: Regularly occurring
Distribution: Species native to India, introduced as an ornamental. Also on Vieques; cultivated throughout the tropics.
Jasminum sambac (L.) Soland. in Ait., Hort. Kew. ed. 1, 1: 8. 1789.
Basionym: Nyctanthes sambac L.
Erect or clambering shrub, 1-2 m in length. Stems slender, puberulent, glabrous when mature. Leaves opposite, simple, 3.5-10.5 × 3-5.8 cm, elliptical, the apex obtuse, mucronate, the base obtuse to rounded, the margins entire; upper surface glabrous, except for the midvein, which is puberulent; lower surface glabrous, with the midvein prominent, barbate on the secondary veins; petioles pubescent, 5-7 mm long. Inflorescences of axillary cymes, longpedunculate, with few fragrant flowers; peduncle and pedicels pubescent. Calyx green, ca. 1 cm long, infundibuliform, tomentose, with 7-10 linear lobes; corolla white, hypocrateriform, the tube 1-1.4 cm long, the lobes 5, elliptical, 1-1.3 cm long. Fruits not observed.
Phenology: Collected in flower during September.
Status: Exotic, cultivated and naturalized(according to Liogier, 1995), uncommon.
Selected Specimens Examined: Stevenson, J.A. 255.
Habitat & Distribution
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Jasminum sambac
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Jasminum sambac
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Jasminum sambac is a species of jasmine native to South and Southeast Asia. It is a small shrub or vine growing up to 0.5 to 3 m (1.6 to 9.8 ft) in height. It is widely cultivated for their attractive and sweetly fragrant flowers. The flowers are also used for perfumes and for making tea. It is known as the Arabian jasmine in English. It is the national flower of the Philippines, where it is known as Sampaguita. It is also one of the three national flowers of Indonesia.
Taxonomy and nomenclature
Despite the English common name of "Arabian jasmine", Jasminum sambac is not originally native to Arabia. The habits of Jasminum sambac support a native habitat of humid tropical climates and not the arid climates of the Middle East. Early Chinese records of the plant points to the origin of Jasminum sambac as South and Southeast Asia. Jasminum sambac (and nine other species of the genus) were spread into Arabia and Persia by man, where they were cultivated in gardens. From there, they were introduced to Europe where they were grown as ornamentals and were known under the common name "sambac" in the 18th century. A name which is derived from a misapplication of the Sanskrit name champaka, which refers to the fragrant flowered shrub Michelia champaca.
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus first described the plant as Nyctanthes sambac in the first edition of his famous book Systema Naturae. In 1789, William Aiton reclassified the plant to the genus Jasminum. He also coined the common English name of "Arabian jasmine", cementing the misconception that it was Arabian in origin.
Other common names of Jasminum sambac include:
- Arabic - Full (فل)
- Bengali - Bel/Beli (বেলীফুল)
- Chamorro - Sampagita
- Chinese - Mo Li Hua (茉莉花)
- English - Arabian jasmine, Tuscan jasmine, Sambac jasmine
- Filipino and Spanish - Sampaguita
- Hawaiian - Pikake
- Hindi and Marathi - Moghrā
- Kannada - Dundu Mallige
- Malay and Indonesian - Kampupot, Melati putih
- Malayalam - Mulla
- Oriya - Juhi Mahli (ଜୁହି ମହ୍ଲି)
- Prakrit - Malliā
- Punjabi - Motiya (موتیا)
- Sanskrit - Mallikā
- Tagalog - Kampupot, Sampagita
- Tahitian, Maori, and Marquesan - Pitate
- Tamil - Mallikaipu
- Telugu - Mallepuvvu
- Urdu - Kaliyan
- Vietnamese - Hoa Nhài
Jasminum sambac is an evergreen vine or shrub reaching up to 0.5 to 3 m (1.6 to 9.8 ft) tall. The species is highly variable, possibly a result of spontaneous mutation, natural hybridization, and autopolyploidy. Only a few varieties reproduce by seed in the wild. Cultivated Jasminum sambac generally do not bear seeds and the plant is reproduced solely by cuttings, layering, marcotting, and other methods of asexual propagation.
The leaves are ovate, 4 to 12.5 cm (1.6 to 4.9 in) long and 2 to 7.5 cm (0.79 to 3.0 in) wide. The phyllotaxy is opposite or in whorls of three, simple (not pinnate, like most other jasmines). They are smooth (glabrous) except for a few hairs at the venation on the base of the leaf.
The flowers bloom all throughout the year and are produced in clusters of 3 to 12 together at the ends of branches. They are strongly scented, with a white corolla 2 to 3 cm (0.79 to 1.2 in) in diameter with 5 to 9 lobes. The flowers open at night (usually around 6 to 8 in the evening), and close in the morning, a span of 12 to 20 hours. The fruit is a purple to black berry 1 cm (0.39 in) in diameter.
- 'Maid of Orleans' - possesses flowers with a single layer of five or more oval shaped petals. It is also known as 'Mograw', 'Motiya', or 'Bela'. It is the variety most commonly referred to as sampaguita and pikake.
- 'Belle of India' - possesses flowers with a single or double layer of elongated petals.
- 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' - possesses flowers with doubled petals. They resemble small white roses and are less fragrant than the other varieties. It is also known as 'Rose jasmine' and 'Butt Mograw'. In the Philippines, it is known as kampupot.
- 'Mysore Mulli' - resembles the 'Belle of India' cultivar but has slightly shorter petals.
Cultivation and uses
The sweet, heady fragrance of Jasminum sambac is its distinct feature. It is widely grown throughout the tropics from the Arabian peninsula to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands as an ornamental plant and for its strongly scented flowers. Numerous cultivars currently exist.
Typically, the flowers are harvested as buds during early morning. The flower buds are harvested on basis of color, as firmness and size are variable depending on the weather. The buds have to be white, as green ones may not emit the characteristic fragrance they are known for. Open flowers are generally not harvested as a larger amount of them is needed to extract oils and they lose their fragrance sooner.
Jasminum sambac was adopted by the Philippine government as its national flower in 1934 by the then Governor General of the Philippines, Frank Murphy, through Proclamation No. 652. Filipinos string the flowers into leis, corsages, and crowns. These garlands are available as loose strings of blossoms or as tight clusters of buds. They are commonly sold by vendors outside churches and near stoplights.
Jasminum sambac is one of the three national flowers in Indonesia (adopted in 1990), the other two being the moon orchid and the giant padma. It is also the most important flower in wedding ceremonies for ethnic Indonesians, especially in the island of Java.
In Hawaii, the flower is known as pikake, and are used to make fragrant leis. The name 'pikake' is derived from the Hawaiian word for "Peacock", because the Hawaiian Princess Kaʻiulani was fond of both the flowers and the bird.
It is one of the most commonly grown ornamentals in India and Bangladesh, where it is native. They are used to make thick garlands used as hair adornments. In Oman, Jasminum sambac features prominently on a child's first birthday. Flowers are spinkled on the child's head by other children while chanting "hol hol". The fragrant flowers are also sold packed in between large leaves of the Indian almond (Terminalia catappa) and sewn together with strips of date palm leaves.
In China, the flower is processed and used as the main ingredient in jasmine tea (茉莉花茶). It is also the subject of the folk song Mo Li Hua, which was censored by the People's Republic of China due to its association with the 2011 Chinese protests spurred by the Jasmine revolution of Tunisia.
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