The Varieties of Jasmine

Jasmine's latin name, "jasmine polyanthum", meaning "many flowers", is telling of this plant's variety. This vine is known for its fragrance and its history.

a potted plant surrounded by white and pink jasmine vines.

Photo: ilsebatten (lost in translation once more)

Jasmine is known for its variety, fragrance and its history.

Jasmine polyanthum (polyanthum means many flowers) is a vigorous vine that produces sprays of fragrant white blossoms. The Duke of Medici was said to be the first to grow jasmine in Italy and, according to legend since his time, Italian brides have worn a spray of the Duke’s special jasmine on their wedding day for good luck.

Some Different Varieties Of Jasmine

There are about 200 species of jasmine but only about 15 are suitable to grow in gardens. Here are just a few of the varieties:

  • The white jasmine was first introduced to England from India by Vasco da Gama in the 16th century thus having a distinguished lineage. From the first though, its claim to fame was its perfume.
  • Winter jasmine was migrated from China by the English botanist Robert Fortune in 1844 and was described as a symbol of grace and elegance.
  • The state flower of South Carolina is the Carolina jasmine. It is not actually a member of the large jasmine genus at all, though it does have a very sweet perfume. It is, however, extremely poisonous and if any part of the plant is swallowed it will cause paralysis or even death!

There are a lot of different kinds of jasmines, and for those of us who have cold winters and want to grow one that flowers indoors, catalogs such as the one produced by White Flower Farm, frequently offer good varieties for this purpose

Note: There are so many poisonous plants that it is important for all adults to follow the rule of never picking anything in a garden and immediately popping it into their mouths in front of children. While we may feel like doing so with, for example, a cherry tomato the practice allows children to generalize and think that it is okay to eat anything in a garden.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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  • http://wendiland.etsy.com Wendiland

    Calling a plant something it’s not is very misleading.  Like the Carolina Jasmine — it’s called a Jasmine just because the scent is similar.  Parents of toddlers and pets should really research what they can grow before putting a plant down.  Some can be so deadly! 

    Such a wonderful article.  I always wanted a large Jasmine vine…real Jasmine.

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