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).