Prized for their gorgeous, complex fragrance and delicate blossoms, jasmine flowers (Jasminum) grow across warm and temperate regions of Asia, Oceania, and Europe. For centuries, jasmine oil has played a key role in the perfume industry, as well as in aromatherapy and traditional medicine. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about jasmine flower meaning, their history and origins, popular types and uses, plus essential tips for gifting and caring for fresh-cut jasmine flowers at home.
- Jasmine Flowers Meaning & Symbolism – The Essentials
- About Jasmine Flowers
- Popular Jasmine Flower Types, Species, and Cultivars
- Uses and Benefits of Jasmine Flowers
- Jasmine Flower Meaning & Symbolism
- Suitable Gifting Occasions for Jasmine Flowers
- How to Care for Fresh Cut Jasmine Flowers at Home
Jasmine Flowers Meaning & Symbolism – The Essentials
Thanks to its captivating scent and lovely blooms, the jasmine flower meaning has long been prized across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In various cultural traditions, a gift of jasmine flowers symbolizes love, romance, and sensuality. White jasmine blossoms in particular hold the symbolic meaning of purity and motherhood, as well as honor and respect.
About Jasmine Flowers
Jasmine Flowers – Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
Jasmine plants belong to the genus Jasminium, a member of the Oleaceae or olive family. The Jasminum genus is further divided into the sections Alternifolia, Jasminum, Primulina, Trifoliolata, and Unifoliolata. There are about 200 species of jasmine, and most are shrubs or vines.
Botanical Characteristics, Colors, Fragrances, and Toxicity
Most Jasminum is broadleaf evergreen shrubs or vines, although a few species are deciduous. Foliage is usually dark green, and leaves may be arranged as alternate or opposing.
Flowers are generally less than an inch in diameter. Blossoms are bell-shaped and may be white, yellow, or pink. Flowers have four to nine petals and two stamens. Some plants also produce black, shiny berries.
Jasmine is beloved for its strong, complex fragrance. The blossoms’ unique, pleasant scent has long been a staple ingredient in perfume and aromatherapy.
The name Jasminum comes from the Persian word yassameen, which translates to “gift from God.” Jasmine is also sometimes called “Queen of the Night,” both due to the plant’s tendency to bloom after the sun sets and associations with intimacy and romance.
What Regions are Jasmine Flowers Native To?
Jasmine grows in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, and southern Europe. The greatest number of species are indigenous to Asia.
When is Jasmine in Season? When does Jasmine Bloom/Produce Flowers?
Bloom time depends on jasmine species. For instance, poet’s jasmine produces flowers on new growth from spring to fall, while winter jasmine blooms from January to March. Italian jasmine has a long bloom period that may stretch from winter through fall, while royal jasmine tends to bloom during the summer months.
Are Jasmine Flowers Toxic to Humans and Animals?
Jasminum has not been reported as toxic for humans, cats, dogs, or horses.
Popular Jasmine Flower Types, Species, and Cultivars
There are about 200 species in the Jasminum genus. Jasmine varieties commonly grown as ornamentals include:
- Poet’s or common jasmine (J. officinale): a twining, semi-evergreen vine that grows quickly up to 40 feet long. It blooms with fragrant white flowers that attract butterflies and bees.
- Royal or Spanish jasmine (J. grandiflorum): a deciduous-to-evergreen climbing shrub that grows to 12 feet tall, it’s cultivated for its aromatic essential oils.
- Pink jasmine (J. polyanthum): a fast-growing, evergreen vine that produces a profusion of pinkish flowers and grows to 25 feet or more.
- Winter jasmine (J. nudiflorum): an evergreen sub-shrub that forms a mound of trailing branches up to 7 feet wide. It blooms in late winter with yellow flowers.
- Arabian jasmine (J. sambac): an evergreen shrub that reaches heights of 5 feet and blooms with sweetly scented white flowers. It can be trained to climb a trellis.
- Italian or yellow jasmine (J. humile): a 15-foot, glossy-leaved evergreen that produces yellow flowers, followed by black berries.
Uses and Benefits of Jasmine Flowers
Jasmine Flowers in Herbalism and Medicine
Jasmine has been cultivated for thousands of years for its fragrance, but it also has medicinal uses. Historically, blossoms were added to hot fat in a process known as enfleurage. As the flowers cook down, their fragrance is released. The resulting liquid can then be used to scent soaps, oils, and perfumes.
Jasmine plays a role in herbalism and traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, jasmine essential oil is used to release tension, raise the spirits, reduce inhibitions, and as an aphrodisiac. When applied topically, jasmine is believed to relieve aches and pains and soothe skin irritations.
In Indian traditional medicine, the sprouts and dried blossoms of J. grandiflorum are used to treat skin disorders and sinus inflammation. Leaves are used to treat ulcers and infections, while roots are used for toothache, skin irritations, kidney stones, and lightening the skin.
In Europe, folk healers made syrup from J. grandiflorum flowers. The concoction was used to treat coughing and hoarseness.
In traditional Chinese medicine, jasmine is used to regulate digestion, improve liver health, and replenish the blood. Jasminum officinale flowers have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties; herbalists use them to treat the skin. Chinese medicine utilizes common jasmine to treat hepatitis.
Jasmine Flowers in Food and Drink
Dried jasmine flowers are added to green, black, and oolong tea leaves to make jasmine tea. What’s more, jasmine is also used as a flavoring in beverages, candy, gelatin, pudding, and baked goods.
Jasmine Flowers Toxicity, Bee Friendliness, and Pollination
The jasmine flower is not reported to be toxic to humans, pets, or livestock. However, some plant species commonly called “jasmine” but not in the Jasminum genus — such as cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides), yellow jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) — are toxic to humans, pets, and livestock.
Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are drawn to jasmine’s scented, bell-shaped flowers.
Jasmine Flower Meaning & Symbolism
Common Jasmine Flower Colors and their Meaning & Symbolism
Jasmine blossoms are most often white, but some varieties produce yellow, pink, or pink-white blooms, giving them different meanings.
In the language of flowers, white jasmine stands for amiability and sweet love. Yellow jasmine flowers indicate elegance and grace.
The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Jasmine Flowers
In many parts of the world where jasmine grows, this beautiful flower has symbolic meaning. For instance, in parts of India, jasmine flowers are associated with intimacy and are featured prominently at weddings. Javanese weddings also include sweetly scented blossoms.
In Thailand, jasmine stands for motherhood, love, and respect. The flowers also symbolize respect in the Philippines. Here, they’re associated with power and good luck, and gifted to leaders.
The white flower may also be associated with purity.
In 14th century Italy, jasmine was associated with the Virgin Mary, a connection that’s represented in paintings such as “Madonna of the Rose Bower.” Medieval European art often depicted women sitting under a bower of climbing jasmine.
Jasmine is the national flower of Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tunisia, and the city of Damascus.
Hawaiians often add jasmine, known as there as pikake, into floral leis.
Suitable Gifting Occasions for Jasmine Flowers
Jasmine’s striking scent (often described as “heady”) and symbolism of love makes it an ideal flower to give for romantic occasions. Anniversaries, weddings, or special date nights are all appropriate occasions for jasmine.
As this fragrant flower is also associated with respect, you may give jasmine to someone you both look up to and care about. Add jasmine vines to bouquets or vase arrangements to add strong fragrance and soft color.
How to Care for Fresh Cut Jasmine Flowers at Home
To keep jasmine looking beautiful longer, clip stems in the early morning or early evening. Immerse cut ends in cool water, then leave to rest in a cool, dark place for a couple of hours up to overnight.
Cut away lower blossoms and leaves, always snipping on an angle. Remove blossoms as they fade or brown, and replace the water every few days.
With their lovely blossoms and stunning scent, it’s easy to see why jasmine has long been a favorite in the garden and in floral bouquets and arrangements. Jasmine is an ideal way to let someone know how much you love and respect them.
Jasmine Flower FAQ:
What does Jasmine mean spiritually?
In various cultural traditions, a gift of jasmine flowers symbolizes love, romance, and sensuality. White jasmine blossoms in particular hold the symbolic meaning of purity and motherhood, as well as honor and respect.
What is jasmine flower good for?
Jasmine has been cultivated for thousands of years for its fragrance, but it also has medicinal uses. Historically, blossoms were added to hot fat in a process known as enfleurage. As the flowers cook down, their fragrance is released. The resulting liquid can then be used to scent soaps, oils, and perfumes. In Ayurveda, jasmine essential oil is used to release tension, raise the spirits, reduce inhibitions, and as an aphrodisiac.
What is the most fragrant jasmine flower?
Poet’s or common jasmine (J. officinale) is a twining, semi-evergreen vine that blooms with very fragrant white flowers that attract butterflies and bees.
Is Jasmine easy to grow?
Jasmine plants are considered easy to grow. Most Jasmine plants are best suited to USDA hardiness zone 7. Plant in moist, well-draining soil in a spot that receives full sun to partial shade throughout the majority of the day.
How do I get my jasmine plant to flower?
Light and temperature considerations are key to ensure your jasmine plant has the best chance of flowering. Where possible, aim to provide your jasmine plants with at least 6 to 7 hours of direct sunlight throughout the course of the day in a location that doesn’t drop below 65F. Over-fertilizing can also inhibit the plant’s ability to bloom.
Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.