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28 October 2010

Jasmine

"Jasmine is a very popular flower around the world, especially in tropics because of its unique fragrance. The Jasmine is native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the old world.  Jasmine flowers are white in most species, with some species being yellow flowered. Jasmine is believed to have originated in the Himalayas in western China.

 
Kingdom - Plantae
Division - Magnoliophyta
Class - Magnoliopsida
Order - Lamiales
Family - Oleaceae
Genus - Jasminum

 

Unlike most genera in the Oleceae family, which have four corolla lobes petals, Jasmines often have five or six lobes. Jasmines are often strongly and sweetly scented. Jasmine is widely cultivated for its shining leaves and beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers.  Flowering in Jasmines takes place in summer or spring, usually six months after planting. The Jasmine flower releases its fragrance at night after the sun has set and especially when the moon is waxing towards fullness. Jasmine flower buds are more fragrant than the flowers.
There exists a true Jasmine and a false Jasmine, and the two are commonly mistaken for each other because of the fragrance the plants release. The true Jasmine belongs to the family Oleaceae, is primarily a bushy shrub or climbing vine, and is non-poisonous.  True Jasmine has oval, shiny leaves and tubular, waxy-white flowers. The false Jasmine, on the other hand, is in a completely different genus, Gelsemium, and family, Loganiaceae, is considered too poisonous for human consumption." 


Facts About Jasmine
•Jasmine shrubs reach a height of 10-15 feet, growing approximately 12-24 inches per year.

•Jasmine leaves are either evergreen or deciduous.

•A Jasmine leaf is arranged in opposite in most species, leaf shape is simple, trifoliate or pinnate with 5-9 leaflets, each up to two and half inches long.

•The Jasmine stems are slender, trailing, green, glaborous, angled, almost 4-sided.

•Most of the Jasmine species bear white flowers, which are about 1 inch in size.

•Jasmine oil, which is a very popular fragrant oil, contains benzyl acetate, terpinol, jasmone, benzyl benzoate, linalool, several alcohols, and other compounds.

•The variety Jasminium sambac, is a clustered flower of a equally strong scent known in Hawaii as the Pikake.

•Two types of Jasmine are used for oil production - Jasminum grandiflorum and Jasminum officinale.

•The nectar of the fragrant flowers of Carolina Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is poisonous, although its dried roots are used in medicinal preparations as a sedative.

•Jasmine flower oil, extracted from the two species Jasminum Officinale and Grandiflorum, is used in high-grade perfumes and cosmetics, such as creams, oils, soaps, and shampoos.

Jasmine Plant Care
The four things which are most important are: sunshine, fertilizer, soil and watering.
•Remove the weeds present near Jasmine plants.

•Fertilizers should be added from time to time. Mild or moderate fertlizers must be used.

•Add fertilizers for every two weeks - 10% potassium, 20% phosphorous and 10 % nitrogen combination of fertilizer is best suited for Jasmine plant

•Phosphorous and Potassium should be applied in two split doses i.e once after annual pruning and again during June and July.

•Tips of the plants should be pinched to stimulate lateral growth and frequent prunning.

•First irrigation should be given immediately after planting and subsequent irrigation at an interval of seven to ten days.

•Younger plants should be tied with the stems to give a fairly heavy support.

•It differs how to take care of Jasmine plant depending on indoor and outdoor. When it comes for Indoor plant care, Jasmine needs 4-6 hours of exposure to Sun light. So better keep Jasmine plant in the balcony. Do not expose it to direct sunlight in the afternoon. Keep it in the shade during midday, especially in summer.

•For indoor planting, care should be taken so that the plant does not develop a fungus.

•If at all possible, place it inside the house to avoid fungus, the best suited place is near an open window.

•Pruning in late spring is preferred.

•For Jasmine polyanthum, frequent pruning is must.

•If spider mites are found, water spray on leaves gets rid of the problem.

•Dead leaves and branches and dead flowers must be removed from time to time. Otherwise the growth of the plant gets effected.

•For outdoor Jasmine plant care - The prefered time to plant these Jasmine bushes is from June until  November.

•If you plant 2-3 Jasmine Bushes, you need to give adequate space between them, so that their roots can expand.

•Sandy loam soil is best recommended for growing Jasmine plant.

•Water the plant daily, dont let the soil completely dry.

•You can add lime to soil for the plants healthy growth."  The above extract about the Jasmine plant is taken from the following website:  http://www.theflowerexpert.com/


In Tunis and Tunisia, jasmine is a popular and highly sought after plant for its delicate scent and oil.  It grows very well in the Mediterranean climate and hence the reason why it is so widely used in amenity horticulture (this terminology refers to growing plants for recreational or ornamental purposes).  In the summer, a variety of Arabian Jasmine is sold in delightful hand-made bouquets by young boys and men.  It costs about 1 Tunisian Dinar which is equivalent to about 71 American cents or 52 Euro cents, or 45 British pence.  Considering the amount of work that goes into each individually arranged bouquet the price is almost negligible.

Machmoum
"The intoxicating smell of the Machmoum, made from the flower “Fell,” and the Arabian Jasmine tree, unique to Tunisia, is the scent that Tunisians believe, “feeds the feelings!”

•For centuries, Jasmine in the East, was considered as the symbol of love and temptation of women.


•In India, Kama, the God of Love, reached its victims by arrows upon which he attached Jasmine flowers.


•According to legend, Queen Cleopatra went to meet the Roman general Marcus Antonius in a ship whose sails were coated with essence of Jasmine!


•Jasmine was introduced to Hammamet in the 7th century by Arab conquerors and is now an emblem of the town, said to symbolise hospitality and "joie de vivre"!


•According to the Regional Commission for Agricultural Development (CRDA), the town of Hamamet has more than 200,000 Jasmine plants for some 150,000 inhabitants, the highest ratio in the world.


•Even though its lifespan is very short, just 24 hours, exports of the flower still continue to flourish, transported regularly on flights to Paris.


•To get one kilogram of Jasmine absolute essence, about seven million flowers need to be collected, therefore, Jasmine is often reserved for luxury perfumes.


•The perfume “Joy," popular for 30 years, was made from Jasmine mixed with white rose petals!


It is impossible to be in Tunisia in the summer without spotting the Jasmine arrangers, found abundantly in different towns and villages! Whole families, men, women and children alike are kept busy throughout the entire summer picking the flowers to assemble and meticulously, produce Machmoums (bouquets) and necklaces, each more beautiful than the other!  Sold on the beaches, in cafes, or even at road junctions, and produced specifically for the Tunisian bride and groom on their wedding day, many of the vendors are often young boys anxious for extra pocket money and usually dressed traditionally with a bouquet of Jasmine placed behind the ear. They carry and exhibit their wares in a wicker basket placed on their head or carried under their arm.


To celebrate this flower, the city of Radés, near to Tunis, devoted a festival for 15 years. In 2007, Ferjeni Alaghrbi prepared a giant bouquet, which was recorded in the Guiness Book of Records! It took a whole day to prepare for a giant "Machmoum" and the cost of production was estimated to be about 200 dinars!
The giant Machmoum consisted of 500 small Machmoums needing 6 kg of Jasmine or the equivalent of 23,040 flowers."  The above extract about the "Machmoum" is taken from this website, http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/5689775-the-tunisian-machmoum

 I will try and photograph a little bouquet of hand-made "Machmoum" so that you too can appreciate its beauty and I will add it to this blog post on Jasmine.


Figure 1:  Jasmine, species unknown.
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