Jasminum sambac (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton


Protologue: Hort. Kew. 1: 8 (1789).

Synonyms

Nyctanthes sambac L. (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Arabian jasmine (En). Jasmin d'arabie (Fr)
  • Indonesia: melati (general), menur (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: melor (Peninsular)
  • Philippines: manul (Bisaya), sampaguita (Tagalog), kampupot (Tagalog, Pampanga)
  • Cambodia: molih (Chinese)
  • Thailand: khao taek (Mae Hong Son), tiamuun (Chiang Mai), mali son
  • Vietnam: lài, hoa nhài.

Distribution

J. sambac probably originated in India and was brought to Malaysia and Java around the 3rd Century; since then widely cultivated throughout the Malesian region for its heavily scented flowers.

Uses

The leaves are more medicinal than the flowers. A decoction is used internally against fever. A poultice of the leaves is applied to treat skin complaints and wounds in Malaysia. In India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines the bruised leaves or flowers are applied as a poultice to the breast of women as a lactifuge. An infusion of the flowers is applied to the eyelids as a decongestant. Besides the above mentioned uses, in Thailand the leaves are used as an astringent and antiamoebic. The root is given fresh to treat venereal diseases in Malaysia and to treat fever in Indonesia. A tincture made from the root is said to have very strong sedative, anaesthetic and vulnerary properties. Roots are used as poultices for sprains and fractures. A decoction of the roots or an infusion of the flowers is employed in pulmonary catarrh, bronchitis, and also asthma. The stems are employed as an antipyretic and in the treatment of abscesses. The flowers are widely used for their scent and their cooling effect, either directly or in perfumes. In China and Java flowers are used to flavour jasmine tea. In India, J. sambac is commercially cultivated for its essential oil.

Observations

A shrub, untidy (straggling) climbing or lax when young and rooting at the nodes or ascending, up to 3 m tall; leaves all 1-foliolate, ovate, 2.5-9 cm × 2-6.5 cm, thin, base subcordate to obtuse or cuneate, apex obtuse or acuminate, margins subundulate, glabrous or finely pubescent on the main veins, with several sunken and bearded vein-axils beneath; inflorescence a 3-flowered cyme or a many-flowered compact cluster; flowers single or double (in cultivated varieties), with 7-10 calyx segments, 2.5-7 mm long, finely pubescent, corolla tube 7-15 mm long, with 5-many lobes, oval or oblong, 8-15 mm long, mostly white, heavily fragrant; fruit a black berry, surrounded by the calyx. J. sambac is widely planted and occurring from sea-level up to 800 m altitude. Several double-flowered varieties are recognized, none of which produce fruit.

Selected sources

97, 202, 219, 220, 271, 332, 460, 505, 580, 741, 900, 1021, 1035, 1126, 1128, 1178, 1287, 1571.

Authors

Joeni Setijo Rahajoe, R. Kiew & J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg