Who would have thought that Jasmines are related to olives? Well, they are! It’s to do with the structure of the flower, not the taste…
The Jasmine genus has about 200 species across the world, mainly found in tropical and warm temperate areas. Only one Jasmine species is native to Europe, the others originate in Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania. The hot spot for jasmine diversity is South East Asia. Jasmine may be shrubs or vines and noted for highly fragrant flowers that seem to indicate the arrival of Spring.
‘Yasameen’ is a Persian word for ‘gift of God’ through Arabic and Latin.
Jasmine are prized plants in the garden or as cut flowers indoor. Chinese folk use the flowers of Jasmine sambac to make Jasmine tea.
So highly regarded are Jasmine that they are the national flower of many countries including Indonesia, Pakistan and the Phillipines.
There are many other plants commonly named ‘Jasmine’ such as Mandevillea, Gardenia, Plumeria rubra and Trachelospermum, the ‘Star Jasmine’.
Jasmine polyanthum, the climbing Jasmine grows vigorously in sub tropical climates and will reach 6m in height. The perfume is gorgeous but keep a strong hand on this one as it can become unruly without taming. Don’t over fertilise! Try tub cultivation for this species. Jas poly produces great masses of white fused with pink flowers in Spring.
Jasmine sambac (commonly called ‘Arabian Jasmine’) is a shrub growing to 1-2m. We cant see this one growing in the sandy deserts of Arabia as it prefers a humid tropical climate. It is named this way as it was traded through the Arabian peninsular on the way to Europe in the 18th century.
Jasmine sambac ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ is a form with double flowers like mini rose flowers.
Jasmine nitidum is another highly perfumed climber carrying exquisite star shaped flowers and is referred to as ‘Angelwing Jasmine’.
Jasmine vary in hardiness and drought tolerance dependant on their origin but don’t count on your jasmine withstanding severe frosts. Provide a sunny to semi shaded position with moist, well drained soil for best results. We recommend pinching back the growing tips regularly to encourage bushiness and bud proliferation at flowering time.
Jasmine flowers are simple, pure and white yet emit such a sweet perfume.
Find a spot in your garden for a group of these plants!