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Jasminum officinale L.

Common Jasmine

Modern name

Jasminum officinale L.

A deciduous, or nearly deciduous, climbing shrub, making shoots 6 ft or more long in one season, and ultimately, if carefully trained, reaching 40 ft in height; young shoots very slender, angled, glabrous or soon becoming so. Leaves opposite, pinnate, composed of five, seven, or nine leaflets, which are 12 to 212 in. long, 12 to 1 in. wide, slightly downy at or about the margin, the terminal one much the largest and stalked, side ones stalkless. Flowers white, deliciously fragrant, produced from June until October in a terminal cluster of cymes, each cyme with three or five blossoms. Corolla 78 in. long, and about the same across the four or five spreading lobes. Calyx-lobes almost threadlike, 12 in. long; flower-stalk about 1 in. long. Fruits not regularly or freely produced, black, 13 in. long, solitary or twin.

Native of the Caucasus, N. Persia, Afghanistan, the Himalaya, and China. The common jasmine has been cultivated from time immemorial in Britain, and its fragrance and beauty have given it a place in English gardens as secure as that of the lilac or lavender. In the north it is hardy only against a wall or on a roof, but in the south it grows well in the open, where if supported in the early stages and pruned back every spring it will make a self-supporting bush. But perhaps its charm is greatest when allowed to form a loose tangle on a house front, as one may often see it in cottage gardens between London and the south coast. Even in winter the tangle of young stems has a cheerful green effect.

f. affine (Lindl.) Rehd. J. affine Lindl.; J. grandiflorum Hort., not L.; J. officinale grandiflorum Hort. – A form with flowers pink on the outside and broader calyx-lobes, raised from seeds sent by Dr Royle from the Himalaya (Bot. Reg., Vol. 31 (1845), t. 26).

cv. ‘Aureum’. – Leaves rather handsomely blotched with yellow; scarcely as hardy as the normal form.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

cv. ‘Aureum’. – This is also known as ‘Aureovariegatum’.



Other species in the genus