Jasmine (Jasminum) is a genus of shrubs and vines in the in the Family Oleaceae, with about 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. The majority of species grow as climbers on other plants or on structures. The leaves can be either evergreen or deciduous, and are opposite in most species; leaf shape is simple, trifoliate or pinnate with up to nine leaflets.
Jasmine flowers are four-petalled, and mostly white, with some yellow flowered species. Unlike most genera in the Oleaceae which have four corolla lobes ('petals'), jasmines typically have five or six lobes. They are often strongly and sweetly scented. Flowering is in spring or summer in most species, but in a few species, notably J. nudiflorum, in winter on the bare branches of this deciduous species.
The common name 'jasmine' is often given to unrelated plants with pale,
sweetly-scented flowers and dark green leaves, such as Trachelospermum
species (Confederate or star jasmine), Gardenia jasminoides (Cape jasmine),
and Gelsemium species (Carolina jasmine).
Cultivation and uses of Jasmine
Jasmines are widely cultivated for their flowers, to be enjoyed in the garden, as house plants, and for cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia.
Jasmine flowers are also used to make tea, which typically has a green tea base. Many types yield an essential oil, which is used in the production of perfumes and incense.
J. fluminense is an invasive species in Hawaii, where it is sometimes known by the inaccurate name "Brazilian Jasmine". J. dichotomum is also invasive in Florida.
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