The Jasmine Flower
Jasmine has been known the world over for its sweet, exotic fragrance for thousands of years. With more than 200 different species of jasmine worldwide, it's not surprising that there are some special variations on the common jasmine variety often seen in gardens.
The scientific name for jasmine is Jasminum. Surprisingly, jasmine is a member of the olive family. The word jasmine comes from the Persian word 'yasmin' which means 'gift from God'.
The origin of this flower's name clearly states that people have always felt blessed to have the scent of jasmine nearby.
Jasmine is native to the warm, tropical regions of Asia, though it is commonly grown almost anywhere now. Jasmine likes warm, tropical environments best, though it can adapt to various climate conditions.
Jasmine flowers are typically white, though there are some exceptions such as yellow jasmine, also known as Carolina Jasmine or Jessamine. The leaves of the jasmine plant may be either deciduous or evergreen.
Description and Characteristics
In Tunisia, jasmine is the national flower. In Pakistan, Jasminum officinale is called 'yasmine' or 'chambeli' and is the official flower of the region. In Hawaii, Arabian Jasmine is known as Pikake and is commonly used in fragrant leis.
In the Philippines, jasmine is called 'Sampaguita' and is used for religious garlands. And in Indonesia, Jasminum sambac is called 'Melati putih' and is a major part of the wedding ceremony.
In Thailand, Jasmine is also associated with the mother, much like we associate roses with mothers in the west. There are many types of flower out there to choose from, so for jasmine to be adopted by so many people and places speaks volumes for the attraction this flower holds.
Jasmine is an important cultural symbol of Damascus in Syria, which is known as the City of Jasmine.
Cultivation and Care
It is possible to grow jasmine indoors provided that the plant has its sun and humidity needs met. When growing jasmine outdoors it is important to pick a variety that suits the needs of your garden.
Some jasmine plants are like a bush, others are a vine. No matter the type chosen, lots of sun is a must. Jasmine can't get enough sunlight, so the brighter the better.
Diseases and Pests
Spider mites are a threat to jasmine in addition to many other plant varieties. Jasmine plants are also susceptible to powdery mold, flower blight and leaf drop. Choosing healthy plants from the start is the best idea.
However, if a jasmine plant shows signs of the above illnesses some treatment options may be available from your local nursery.
Jasmine tea gained popularity in China between the years 960–1279. Jasmine tea isn't actually made from jasmine itself, but from white or green tea that has been spiked by the aromatic blooms. The flowers are picked early in the day while the blooms are still closed tightly shut and then they are kept cool until nightfall.
At night, the jasmine flowers open and the tea can then absorb the fragrance. Making jasmine tea is a time consuming process. It takes 4-6 hours for the tea to take the scent of the flowers, and most good batches of tea have several rounds with the flowers before the tea is considered done. The end result is worthwhile though, the tea is a sweetly scented cup of bliss.
Despite the use of jasmine flower in scenting and flavoring tea, jasmine itself is not edible and caution must be exercised, especially with yellow jasmine. Yellow jasmine looks so similar to honeysuckle that children have tried to suck the nectar from the yellow jasmine. This resulted in death because yellow jasmine is quite poisonous. It is best to avoid the consumption of flowers in general.
Jasmine oil is one of the most precious oils on the planet. It takes an lot of flowers to get a respectable amount of oil, and those flowers must be picked at night. Jasmine oil commands a high price due to supply and demand; there is much more demand than there is supply thanks to the fragrance industry, which uses jasmine in a wide variety of different perfumes.
The flowers of the jasmine plant are also used to make jasmine syrup. This sweetly floral syrup is popular in France and is used to flavor sweet confections such as marshmallows.
Jasmine is a beautiful addition to flower arrangements and also makes a great smelling houseplant.
Jasmine is a very precious flower, both for its scent and cultural value. Whether in the form of a small cup of tea in the morning or a large trellis on the porch, everyone can find a way to make this special flower a part of their lives.
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