982 Jasminum sambacCommon Names: Arabian jasmine Family: Oleaceae (olive Family)
Arabian jasmine is a bushy vine or scrambling shrub with shiny dark green leaves and fragrant little white flowers. Some of the evergreen leaves are in whorls of three and others are in opposite pairs. The long, angular shoots twist and twine as they clamber and sprawl over and through any support they can find. The waxy snow white flowers are about 1 in (2.5 cm) across, borne in clusters of 3-12, and intensely fragrant. They fade to pink as they age. Arabian jasmine blooms throughout the summer - and almost continuously in warm climates. The fruits are small black berries, but are seldom formed in cultivation. By far, the most common form of Arabian jasmine in cultivation is 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' (sometimes called 'Flore Pleno'), which has double flowers that look like miniature gardenias. Expect an Arabian jasmine to grow no more than 6-10 ft (1.8-3.1 m) high and just as wide in frostfree areas; smaller when it has to regrow from roots following a winter freeze.
Arabian jasmine, Jasminum sambac, has been in cultivation for centuries - so long, in fact, that its origin has been forgotten, but it was probably India, where today it is one of the most commonly cultivated ornamentals.
CultureArabian jasmine, like most of the other jasmines, is very easy to grow in almost any moist, but not waterlogged soil. Light: Arabian jasmine likes full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Supply plenty of water during the summer growing season, but reduce watering in winter. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Although this is a tropical plant, Arabian jasmine can be grown outdoors in zones 8 and 9, where it will freeze to the ground in winter, but return from its roots in spring. Just be sure to mulch the plant well before the freezes get real bad. The downside is that it takes so long for the plant to regrow after freezing to the ground you don't get any flowers until late in the year - August or September, usually. Propagation: Arabian jasmine is easy to propagate from semi-ripe cuttings taken in summer, especially if you can keep them under intermittent mist for a couple weeks.
Arabian jasmine is often grown in a pot, on the patio or deck in summer and brought indoors in winter. Prune frequently to maintain a desirable shape. In frostfree climes, grow this fragrant beauty in mixed hedges or allow to sprawl in masses or as a specimen plant, pruned to a compact shrub. Here at the Christman homestead, we have an Arabian jasmine in a big pot on the front porch - where we can smell its sweet perfume whenever we walk by.
The dried flowers of Arabian jasmine are used by the Chinese to flavor jasmine tea. In Hawaii they use the flowers in leis. In India they're used in garlands, and Arabian jasmine is the national flower of the Philippines.
The true jasmines include about 200 species of shrubs and vines, mostly from Asia, Europe and Africa. See Floridata's profiles on star jasmine (Jasminum nitidum ), downy jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum), and three other true jasmines. Several other plants, completely unrelated, also go by the name jasmine. Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and night-blooming jasmine, (Cestrum nocturnum) for example, are not true jasmines, but they are sweet smelling nonetheless.
The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists this species as a Category II exotic invasive. This indicates that it has increased in abundance or frequency but has not yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent shown by Category I species. These species may become ranked Category I, if ecological damage is demonstrated. Arabian jasmine cannot be recommended for landscape use in Florida and caution should be exercised when considering this plant for use in similar frostfree climates.
Steve Christman 11/5/03