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What Is Arabian Jasmine?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Arabian jasmine, also known as jasmine sambac, is a plant originally grown in Asia, where trading made it popular in Arabia and Persia. Through breeding, several different types have been created, and it is also known by several different names. Commonly used in perfumes and teas, Arabian jasmine can be a garden or houseplant and it is usually grown as a medium-size shrub, although it will grow as a vine with proper care.

The term "Arabian jasmine" is used to describe the original jasmine sambac plant as well as the cultivars, or types, that humans have bred from this species. “Belle of India” and “Mysore Mulli” both have longer petals than standard Arabian jasmine, while “Maid of Orleans” has slightly rounded petals. “The Grand Duke of Tuscany” is the easiest sambac cultivar to recognize, as the flowers look more like roses than jasmine. Other than different jasmine sambac varieties, this plant is also known by several different names including sampaguita in Filipino and melati putih in Indonesian.

As with most types of jasmine, Arabian jasmine is well-known for the fragrance of its flowers, which average 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in size. In general, blooms open at night, releasing the fragrance, and close or fall off in the morning. A well-cared-for jasmine sambac plant will typically produce new blooms regularly during the fall and summer months, or for most of the year if kept indoors. It typically needs full sun during the day and cool nights in order to grow and bloom well.

Due to the fragrance of jasmine, it is commonly used in perfumes. The oil from the petals is extracted and may be sold as an essential oil or used in oil blends or fragrances. Oil from the petals may also be used in household fragrance products. Jasmine tea is made from Arabian jasmine, which is a staple in China and Japan. It is also the official plant of the Philippines and one of several other official plants in Indonesia, as well as a popular addition to leis in Hawaii.

When provided with a trellis or other structure, Arabian jasmine grows as a climbing vine. It can also grow into a mound, or shrub shape, when properly pruned or grown in containers. As a shrub or mound, this plant can grow up to 8 feet tall (2.4 meters). When left on its own, without pruning or a structure, Arabian jasmine typically grows as ground cover, and can stretch out to 10 feet (3 meters).

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Discussion Comments

By anon1007440 — On Jul 10, 2022

The pictiure shown is Star Jasmine or Confederate Jasmine not Arabian,

By ysmina — On Apr 05, 2014

@bluedolphin-- I don't see why not. This type of jasmine is used for tea as the article said. You could add fresh petals to green or white tea for a jasmine aroma and fragrance. You could dry it and use it that way as well.

I personally don't use my Arabian jasmine petals for tea because the flowers are very beautiful and my plant is rather small. So I only get a small amount of flowers and I love the way they make my kitchen smell.

By bluedolphin — On Apr 05, 2014

Can I add Arabian jasmine petals to tea to make my own jasmine tea?

By serenesurface — On Apr 04, 2014

I just bought Arabian jasmine from a local nursery and I love it. It's a beautiful plant with small, white flowers. It is summer right now and the plant is doing well. Although it was already in bloom when I bought, it continues to bud and flower and smells heavenly.

I'm not sure how it's going to fare indoors during the winter months but I hope it will do well. It is growing at a good rate so I think I will be moving it into a new pot soon.

I have come across other jasmine plants before and I think that in comparison, the Arabian jasmine has a sweeter, but less intense scent. I think it's perfect as a home plant if the conditions are right.

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