Trachelospermum jasminoides,… now that’s a mouthful and why is it usually referred to as Star Jasmine.
Right let’s be clear, it’s not a Jasmine, it’s a Trachelospermum!
This plant is also called Chinese Jasmine, Chinese Ivy, Trader’s compass and Confederate Jasmine (US). When confused, stick to the botanical name; you can be understood all over the world with precision if using the Latin binomial system.
Allright, demounted from the soapbox now so we can talk about this plants characteristics, and there are many. Like that Australian possums wont eat it because of the milky sap. The milky sap feature is shared with plants of the Apocynaceae family such as Allamanda, Carissa and Frangipani.
Bast fibres can be produced from the stems of Trachelospermum- these are the strong flexible fibres just under the bark that are prepared by soaking in chemicals or enzymes and turned into ropes, yarn and paper.
But you didn’t come here to learn how to make shoes from plant fibres or use sticky sap in cooking right? Lets talk about the wonderful use of the plant as ornaments in our gardens and the joy they bring.
Trachelospermum produce the most heady of perfumes in Spring, flowering in sun, filtered light or shade. It presents beautiful glossy foliage from the ground up and will climb to substantial heights when a climbing frame is provided. This is a plant that has moderate requirements for water, fertiliser and attention.
They can be used as ground covers, being kept low by regular brushcutting or trained vertically up posts or mesh. You can also keep these in pots and train over a low frame.
The star shape flowers are pure white
Diseases are rare. Loss of plants is not seen except where soils are waterlogged.
Three variegated forms are available, Trachelospermum jasminoides variegatum, Trachelospermum ‘Tricolour’ and T. asiaticum.
These have a much more modest growth habit and therefore make good choices for ground cover use.
Trachelospermum are prized plant and with good reason- durable, manageable and perfumed.