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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (PROSEA)

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<big>''[[Nyctanthes arbor-tristis]]'' L.</big>
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:Protologue: Sp. Pl. 1: 6 (1753).
== Synonyms ==
*''Nyctanthes dentata'' Blume (1849).
== Vernacular names ==
== Uses ==
Night jasmine certainly came into use as a dye early. The bright orange corolla tubes of the flowers contain a saffron-yellow colouring matter, which was formerly used for dyeing silk, sometimes in conjunction with safflower ( ''Carthamus tinctorius'' L.), turmeric ( ''Curcuma longa'' L.), and indigo ( ''Indigofera'' spp.). Locally the dye is also used for dyeing cotton cloth and as a cheap substitute for saffron in colouring the robes of Buddhist priests.
The essential oil in the fragrant flowers, which is similar to the oil in jasmine, is used as perfume. The bark may be used as a tanning material, and the leaves are sometimes used for polishing wood and ivory. In India, Indonesia (Java) and Malaysia, the flowers are used medicinally to provoke menstruation. The bitter leaves are useful against fevers, rheumatism and as an anthelmintic. In Java, an extract of the leaves is sometimes used as a tonic, and in India it is reported useful as cholagogue, laxative, diaphoretic and diuretic, and an extract is given to children for the expulsion of roundworms and threadworms. An anti-inflammatory activity of the leaves of night jasmine has been recorded recently, and an insecticidal effect of an extract from shade-dried leaves has been reported. Powdered seeds ameliorate scalp scurf.
== Properties ==
The dye is nyctanthin, allied to crocetin from saffron ( ''Crocus sativus'' L.). The flowers also contain an abundance of mannitol. Substances found in the leaves include mannitol, ß-amyrin, ß-sitosterol, benzoic acid and derivates of kaempferol. The seeds contain about 15% of a pale yellow-brown oil, nyctanthic acid and ß-sitosterol, and the bark contains a glycoside and alkaloids, suspected of being poisonous to animals and humans.
The wood is fairly heavy, averaging 880 kg/m<sup>3</sup>, brown, close-grained and moderately hard.
== Botany ==
*A large shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. Bark scabrous, grey. Branches spreading, rough, twigs tetragonal, scabrous. *Leaves decussately opposite, ovate, (4-)6-12 cm × 2-6.5(-9) cm, cuneate to subcordate at base, acute or acuminate at apex, margin entire or with a few teeth, very scabrous above with bulbous-based hairs, pubescent beneath, shortly petiolate. *Flowers in axillary or terminal, bracteate cymes consisting of 2-7-flowered corymbs, with quadrangular, slender peduncle, fragrant and sessile; calyx campanulate, about 5 mm long; corolla with a cylindric, orange tube and 5-8 spreading, imbricate and more or less contorted, white lobes, 5-15 mm long; stamens 2, inserted near the top of the corolla tube; style about as long as the corolla tube, stigma obscurely bifid. *Fruit a cordate to almost orbicular flat capsule, about 2 cm across, brown, 2-celled, opening transversely from the apex. Seeds 1 per cell, compressed.
The small genus ''Nyctanthes'' L. (1-2 species) is variously classified in the families Oleaceae and Verbenaceae, and sometimes together with the genus ''Dimetra'' Kerr. in a separate family Nyctanthaceae.
== Literature ==
 
* Corner, E.J.H., 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. 3rd ed. Vol. 2. The Malayan Nature Society. United Selangor Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. pp. 602-603.
* Moldenke, H.N. & Moldenke, A.L., 1983. Nyctanthaceae. In: Dassanayake, M.D. & Fosberg, F.R. (Editors): A revised handbook to the Flora of Ceylon. Vol. 4. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. pp. 178-181.
* Sastri, B.N. (Editor), 1966. The wealth of India. Raw materials. Vol. 7. Publications & Information Directorate, Council of Industrial and Scientific Research, New Delhi. pp. 69-70.
 
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