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What Is Jasmine?

Jasmine tea is infused with the scent of jasmine flowers.
Star jasmine.
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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Jasmine is a genus consisting of more than 200 species of plants in the olive family. They are popular plants around the world but especially so in Asian countries. Some species of the plant are considered invasive and are therefore illegal to purposely grow in certain countries. Jasminium abyssinicum, Jasminum grandiflorum, and Jasminum sambac are just a few examples of well-documented jasmine plants. This flower and its essential oil are used in teas, syrups, and fragrances and considered of great importance to some industries.

In some Asian countries, jasmines serve as the national flower. Women pick and wear jasmines in their hair and on necklaces because of their attractiveness and association with the country. In some regions of the world, jasmines are thought to be the most popular flower.

Not all species of jasmines are equally cherished, however. For example, Jasminum fluminense is labeled as invasive in several regions of the United States, like Florida. Invasive plants are plants that are not native to the region and fight native plants for space. In worst case scenarios, invasive plants make some native plants extinct by overcoming them.

One of the ways that Jasminium abyssinicum, or forest jasmine, contrasts itself with other types of jasmine is with its ability to climb and grow on trees. This species is naturally located in various regions of Africa, such as Ethiopia, and tends to thrive high up in the mountains. The forest jasmine also bares tiny black fruit.

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Jasmimium grandiflorum, also known as Spanish jasmine, is a deciduous shrub. Deciduous means that the leaves of the plant fall during autumn. It is widely used as an herbal and decorative plant. Sometimes these jasmines are confused for their close relatives, though these plants have a much sweeter fragrance.

Another kind of flower, called Jasminium sambac, is native to southern Asian and serves as the national flower of the Philippines. It is a small white flower with a strong scent. The leaves of the plants are evergreen, meaning they are green year round.

Among their many uses, jasmines are regularly used to worship gods and decorate homes. In the beauty industry, their oils are used in perfumes, though the flowers are gathered only at night when their scent is the strongest. Jasmine tea is popular in China and uses blossoms from the plant and sometimes takes all day to make for the highest grades of tea.

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