Jasmine (taxonomic name Jasminum //) is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers. A number of unrelated plants contain the word "Jasmine" in their common names (see Other plants called "Jasmine").
Jasmine can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne in opposing or alternating arrangement and can be of simple, trifoliate, or pinnate formation. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish. The flowers are borne in cymose clusters with a minimum of three flowers, though they can also be solitary on the ends of branchlets. Each flower has about four to nine petals, two locules, and one to four ovules. They have two stamens with very short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually very fragrant. The fruits of jasmines are berries that turn black when ripe. The basic chromosome number of the genus is 13, and most species are diploid (2n=26). However, natural polyploidy exists, particularly in Jasminum sambac (2n=39), Jasminum flexile (2n=52), Jasminum mesnyi (2n=39), and Jasminum angustifolium (2n=52).
Jasmines are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania, although only one of the 200 species is native to Europe. Their center of diversity is in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
A number of jasmine species have become naturalized in Mediterranean Europe. For example, the so-called Spanish jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) was originally from West Asia and Indian subcontinent, and is now naturalized in the Iberian peninsula.
Jasminum fluminense (which is sometimes known by the inaccurate name "Brazilian Jasmine") and Jasminum dichotomum (Gold Coast Jasmine) are invasive species in Hawaii and Florida. Jasminum polyanthum, also known as White Jasmine, is an invasive weed in Australia.
Species belonging to genus Jasminum are classified under the tribe Jasmineae of the olive family (Oleaceae). Jasminum is divided into five sections—Alternifolia, Jasminum, Primulina, Trifoliolata, and Unifoliolata.
Widely cultivated for its flowers, jasmine is enjoyed in the garden, as a house plant, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in South and South East Asia.
Jasmine tea is often consumed in China, where it is called jasmine-flower tea (茉莉花茶; pinyin: mò lì huā chá). Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make jasmine tea, which often has a base of green tea or white tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. The flowers are put in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes about four hours for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms. For the highest grades of jasmine tea, this process may be repeated up to seven times. As the tea absorbs moisture from the fresh Jasmine flowers, it must be refired to prevent spoilage. The used flowers may be removed from the final product, as the flowers contain no more aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves.
In Okinawa, Japan, jasmine tea is known as sanpin cha.
Jasmine gave name to the jasmonate plant hormones, as methyl jasmonate isolated from the oil of Jasminum grandiflorum led to the discovery of the molecular structure of jasmonates. Jasmonates occur ubiquitously across the plant kingdom, having key roles in responses to environmental cues, such as heat or cold stress, and participate in the signal transduction pathways of many plants.
Jasmine plantation is usually done using the stem of an existing plant, or one having roots. In rare occasions, the flowers bear dark purple fruits with seeds. The seeds germinated when sowed and nurtured properly. The flowering shrubs are usually trimmed pre-summer, as fresh branches grow and bear flowers during the summer.
Indian Jasmine (Jasminum auriculatum) grows mainly in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Western Ghats and Southern India. It is known as Juhi (Hindi), Jui (Bengali), Usimalligai (Tamil), Yuthika (Sanskrit) and holds great significance in Indian culture. Madurai, a city in Tamil Nadu, is famous for its jasmine production. In India, jasmine is cultivated for use in homes, worship, and hair ornaments. Jasmine is cultivated commercially, for domestic and industrial uses, such as the perfume industry. It is used in rituals like marriages, religious ceremonies and festivals.
Jasmine flower vendors sell garlands of jasmine, or in the case of the thicker motiyaa (in Hindi) or mograa (in Marathi) varieties, bunches of jasmine are common. They may be found around entrances to temples, on major thoroughfares, and in major business areas.
Several countries and states consider jasmine as a national symbol.
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