Jasminum sambac

Arabian jasmine
A 'Maid of Orleans' cultivar from Tunisia.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Tribe: Jasmineae
Genus: Jasminum
Species: J. sambac
Binomial name
Jasminum sambac
(L.) Aiton

Jasminum sambac is a species of jasmine native to South and Southeast Asia.[3] 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 its 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, where it is known as Melati Putih.


Taxonomy and nomenclature

Jasminum sambac is classified under the genus Jasminum under the tribe Jasmineae.[4] It belongs to the olive family Oleaceae.[5]

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.[6] 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",[7] cementing the misconception that it was Arabian in origin.[6]

Other common names of Jasminum sambac include:[8]


Jasminum sambac is an evergreen vine or shrub reaching up to 0.5 to 3 m (1.6 to 9.8 ft) tall.[9] 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.[10][11][3]

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).[12] They are smooth (glabrous) except for a few hairs at the venation on the base of the leaf.[10]

The flowers bloom all throughout the year and are produced in clusters of 3 to 12 together at the ends of branches.[11] 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.[3] The fruit is a purple to black berry 1 cm (0.39 in) in diameter.[10]


Jasminum sambac cultivars

'Maid of Orleans'
'Grand Duke of Tuscany'

There are numerous cultivars of Jasminum sambac which differ from each other by the shape of leaves and the structure of the corolla. The cultivars recognized include:

  • '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'.[13] It is the variety most commonly referred to as sampaguita and pikake.[3][11]
  • 'Belle of India' - possesses flowers with a single or double layer of elongated petals.[13]
  • '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'.[13] In the Philippines, it is known as kampupot.[3]
  • 'Mysore Mulli' - resembles the 'Belle of India' cultivar but has slightly shorter petals.[13]


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.[14] Numerous cultivars currently exist.[12]

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.[11] Open flowers are generally not harvested as a larger amount of them is needed to extract oils and they lose their fragrance sooner.[3]


The Philippines

Jasminum sambac was adopted by the Philippines government as its national flower in 1934 by the then Governor General of the Philippines, Frank Murphy, through Proclamation No. 652.[15][16][17] Filipinos string the flowers into leis, corsages, and crowns.[18][19] 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.[20]

Jasminum sambac was the subject of the danza song La Flor de Manila, composed by Dolores Paterno in 1879 at the age of 25. The song was popular during the American Commonwealth of the Philippines and is now regarded as a Philippine romantic classic.[21]


Javanese Surakarta bride adorned with intricate roncen melati (jasmine garland).

Jasminum sambac (Indonesian: melati putih) is one of the three national flowers in Indonesia, the other two being the moon orchid and the giant padma.[16] Although the official adoption were announced only as recent as 1990 during World Environment Day and enforced by law through Presidential Decree No. 4 in 1993,[22] the importance of Jasminum sambac in Indonesian culture long predates its official adoption. Since the formation of Indonesian republic during the reign of Sukarno, melati putih is always unofficially recognized as the national flower of Indonesia. The reverence and its elevated status mostly due to the importance of this flower in Indonesian tradition since ancient times.

It has long been considered a sacred flower in Indonesian tradition, as it symbolizes purity, sacredness, graceful simplicity and sincerity. It also represents the beauty of modesty; a small and simple white flower that can produce such sweet fragrance. It is also the most important flower in wedding ceremonies for ethnic Indonesians, especially in the island of Java.[23] Jasmine flower buds that have not fully opened are usually picked to create strings of jasmine garlands (Javanese: roncen melati ). On wedding days, a traditional Javanese or Sundanese bride's hair is adorned with strings of jasmine garlands arranged as a hairnet to cover the konde (hair bun). The intricately intertwined strings of jasmine garlands are left to hang loose from the bride's head. The groom's kris is also adorned with five jasmine garlands called roncen usus-usus (intestine garlands) to refer its intestine-like form and also linked to the legend of Arya Penangsang. In Makassar and Bugis brides, the hair is also adorned with buds of jasmine that resemble pearls. Jasmine is also used as floral offerings for hyangs, spirits and deities especially among Balinese Hindu, and also often present during funerals.

The jasmine has wide spectrums in Indonesian traditions; it is the flower of life, beauty and festive wedding, yet it is also often associated with spirit and death. In Indonesian patriotic songs and poems, the fallen melati often hailed as the representation of fallen heroes that sacrificed their life and died for the country, the very similar concept with fallen sakura that represent fallen heroes in Japanese tradition. The Ismail Marzuki's patriotic song "Melati di Tapal Batas" (jasmine on the border) (1947) and Guruh Sukarnoputra's "Melati Suci"[24] (sacred jasmine) (1974) clearly refer jasmine as the representation of fallen heroes, the eternally fragrance flower that adorned Ibu Pertiwi (Indonesian national personification). The Iwan Abdurachman's "Melati dari Jayagiri" (jasmine from Jayagiri mountain) refer jasmine as the representation of the pure unspoiled beauty of a girl and also a long lost love.


In Cambodia, the flower is used as an offering to the Buddha. During flowering season which begins in June, Cambodians thread the flower buds onto a wooden needle to be presented to the Buddha.[25]


In China, the flower is processed and used as the main ingredient in jasmine tea (茉莉花茶).[6] 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 pro-democracy protests.[26]


In Hawaii, the flower is known as pikake, and are used to make fragrant leis.[11] 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.[11][17]

India and Middle East

It is one of the most commonly grown ornamentals in India and Bangladesh, where it is native.[17][9] 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.[14]

See also

  • List of Jasminum species
  • Jasmine
  • Jasminum multiflorum - the Indian jasmine
  • Jasminum officinale - the common jasmine


  1. ^ "Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) online database. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?20676. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ginés López González (2006) (in Spanish). Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares: especies silvestres y las principales cultivadas (2 ed.). Mundi-Prensa Libros. p. 1295. ISBN 9788484762720. http://books.google.com/books?id=1cdGlgnm4mwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Dante Santiago, & Caroline P. Khe (2020). "Production Management Practices of Jasmine (Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton) in the Philippines". J. ISSAAS (International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences) 16 (2): 126–136. http://www.issaas.org/journal/v16/02/journal-issaas-v16n2-13-sanchez.pdf. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ Klaus Kubitzki & Joachim W. Kadereit, ed (2004). The families and genera of vascular plants: Flowering plants, Dicotyledons. Lamiales (except Acanthaceae including Avicenniaceae). The families and genera of vascular plants. 7. Springer. p. 299. ISBN 9783540405931. http://books.google.com/books?id=kcSZriBQGp4C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  5. ^ "Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton: Arabian jasmine". PLANTS profile, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=JASA. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c 胡秀英 (Hu Shiu-Ying) (2003) (in Chinese with English translations). 秀苑擷英: 胡秀英敎授論文集. 商務印書館(香港). pp. 263–265. ISBN 9789620731525. http://books.google.com/books?id=hXBYfiAWhZUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  7. ^ William Aiton (1810). Hortus Kewensis, or A catalogue of the plants cultivated in the Royal botanic garden at Kew. 1 (2 ed.). Longman. p. 16. http://books.google.com/books?id=uRAPAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  8. ^ "Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton, Oleaceae". Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). October 18, 2006. http://www.hear.org/Pier/species/jasminum_sambac.htm. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Baby P. Skaria (2007). Aromatic Plants: Vol.01. Horticulture Science Series. Horticulture science. 1. New India Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 9788189422455. http://books.google.com/books?id=e68EbGOCayAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  10. ^ a b c "Jasminum sambac (Linnaeus) Aiton, Hort. Kew. 1: 8. 1789.". Flora of China. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200017788. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Kenneth W. Leonhardt & Glenn I. Teves (2002). "Pikake A Fragrant-Flowered Plant for Landscapes and Lei Production". Ornamentals and Flowers (College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), University of Hawai'i at Manoa). http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/of-29.pdf. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b B.K. Banerji & A.K. Dwivedi. "Fragrant world of Jasmine". Floriculture Today, National Botanical Research Institute. http://www.floriculturetoday.in/fragrant-world-of-jasmine.html. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Jasmine". House Plants, HCC Southwest College. http://swc2.hccs.edu/proberts/gallery/html/sonia_sardesai/html/jasmine.html. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Tony Walsh (2004). "Jasmine Scents of Arabia". Arab News Review (Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC)): 1–3. ISSN 0254-833X. http://www.omanholiday.co.uk/Scents-of-Arabia-by-Tony-Walsh-for-Arab-News.pdf. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Philippine Fast Facts: National Flower: Sampaguita". National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Republic of the Philippines. http://www.ncca.gov.ph/about-culture-and-arts/culture-profile/phil-fast-facts/culture-profile-sampaguita.php. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "ASEAN National Flowers". ASEAN secretariat. http://www.aseansec.org/18203.htm. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c W. Arthur Whistler (2000). Tropical ornamentals: a guide. Timber Press. pp. 284–285. ISBN 9780881924756. http://books.google.com/books?id=IXtGAGK2LG0C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  18. ^ Teresita L. Rosario. "Cut Flower Production in the Philippines". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac452e/ac452e07.htm#bm07. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  19. ^ Greg Nickles (2002). Philippines: the people. The lands, peoples, and cultures. Crabtree Publishing Company. p. 27. ISBN 9780778793533. http://books.google.com/books?id=oGUt7-7sGRIC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  20. ^ Robert H. Boyer (2010). Sundays in Manila. UP Press. p. 230. ISBN 9789715426305. http://books.google.com/books?id=LkTwlWpX8MEC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  21. ^ Himig: The Filipino Music Collection of FHL. "Dolores Paterno". Filipinas Heritage Library and the Ayala Foundation. http://himig.com.ph/features/38-dolores-paterno. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  22. ^ Keputusan Presiden No. 4 Tahun 1993
  23. ^ Toto Sutater & Kusumah Effendie. "Cut Flower Production in Indonesia". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac452e/ac452e05.htm. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  24. ^ Melati Suci
  25. ^ James H. Wandersee & Renee M. Clary. "Divinity in Bud". Human Flower Project. http://www.humanflowerproject.com/index.php/weblog/comments/divinity_in_bud/. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Jasmine stirrings in China: No awakening, but crush it anyway: The government goes to great lengths to make sure all is outwardly calm". The Economist. http://www.economist.com/node/18291529?story_id=18291529. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 

External links

Data related to Jasminum sambac at Wikispecies Media related to Jasminum sambac at Wikimedia Commons

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Jasminum Sambac — Jasmine Jas mine, n. [F. jasmin, Sp. jazmin, Ar. y[=a]sm[=i]n, Pers. y[=a]sm[=i]n; cf. It. gesmino, gelsomino. Cf. {Jessamine}.] (Bot.) A shrubby plant of the genus {Jasminum}, bearing flowers of a peculiarly fragrant odor. The {Jasminum… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jasminum sambac — ID 43601 Symbol Key JASA Common Name Arabian jasmine Family Oleaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Introduced to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution FL, PR, VI Growth Habit Vine, Shrub Durat …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Jasminum sambac — noun East Indian evergreen vine cultivated for its profuse fragrant white flowers • Syn: ↑Arabian jasmine • Hypernyms: ↑jasmine …   Useful english dictionary

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