Scientific name: Jasminum
Flowering period: April - June
Jasmine is a climbing plant, evergreen and deciduous shrub, usually cultivated in pots and gardens. There are about 300 species found in temperate and warm climates, while it is believed to be native to the Himalayas, Tibet and China. Its leaves alternate, are pinnate and simple or trifoliate. Its flowers are white in most species, while in some appear yellow, pink or blue, emitting a sweet and pleasant aroma. Jasmine is sensitive to frigid environments, loves heat and luminous sunshine. It is a perennial plant and uses its soil long-term. Jasmine's flowers develop from the first year, but significant flower production is observed from the third year onwards.
Usage & History:
Apart from solely ornamental, several species of jasmine are widely used in perfumery, and are cultivated for industrial purposes. They are grown in coastal areas, as the sea breeze favours their growth. An essential oil is extracted from jasmine, which is a major component of almost all perfumes. France is leading internationally in jasmine production., followed by China, Italy, Egypt and Greece.
In China, the flowers of some species are used in tea production. It has been, also, proven to have an important medicinal utility, exhibiting antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties.
Jasmine, as a plant, has acquired multiple meanings to multiple places and cultures throughout the centuries. In ancient Greek and Roman culture, jasmine is associated with prophetic dreams. In Africa they associated the species Jasminum angulare with protection from lightning, while the Egyptians and later the Hindus offered jasmine to the gods in order to favour them.