I. The name of shrubs, sometimes twining, of the genus jasminum, which with three other genera some botanists place in the order jasminaceae, while others regard it as belonging to the olive family. The species are all natives of warm countries; they have compound leaves, which are sometimes reduced to a single leaflet and appear simple; the axillary or terminal, yellow or white flowers have a tubular corolla with a spreading limb, two stamens, and a two-lobed ovary; the fruit is berry-like. The flowers of most species are deliciously fragrant, and the plants are favorites in the greenhouse, and where the climate will allow are cultivated in the open air. The best known species is the common jasmine (J. officinale), which was introduced into England from the East in 1548, and is there cultivated for covering walls and arbors. It cannot be considered as properly hardy in the climate of New York, though in some sheltered situations it lasts for several years. It has become thoroughly naturalized in the south of Europe, and is also cultivated there for the sake of its perfume, which is obtained by stratifying the flowers with cotton impregnated with bene oil (sesamum), and allowing them to remain in a closed vessel for 24 hours; the flowers are then removed and replaced by fresh ones, and the process repeated until the oil is strongly impregnated with the odor; the oil is removed from the cotton by pressure, and is used to perfume pomades; when the oil is treated with alcohol that takes up the odor of the flowers, it forms the essence of jasmine.
Perhaps the hardiest species is J. nudiflorum, which has yellow flowers, appearing very early in spring, but they are without odor; J. odoratissimum has also yellow flowers, and is one of the most fragrant; the same may be said of J. revolu-tum. One of the finest greenhouse species is J. grandiflorum, which is in Europe known as the Malabar, and by American florists as the Catalonian jasmine; its long weak stems allow it to be trained upon frames or trellises, and it produces its exceedingly fragrant flowers, which are tinged with pink on the outside, in clusters of two or three. The sambac (J. sarnbac), an East Indian species, is a fine shrub for a warm greenhouse; it has leaves of a single leaflet, and large flowers in small clusters, which are very fragrant, especially in the evening; there are several florists' varieties of this species, some of which have double flowers, and are much prized by bouquet makers. The leaves of J. floribundum are exceedingly bitter, and are used in Abyssinia to destroy the tapeworm. The jasmines are multiplied by means of cuttings in the same manner as other greenhouse shrubs. II. Cape Jasmine, a popular name for plants of the genus Gardenia, not related to the true jasmines.
This genus belongs to the madder family (rubiaceae), and consists of tropical and subtropical shrubs. The cultivated species have large terminal and very fragrant white flowers. The genus was dedicated by Ellis to Dr. Alexander Garden of Charleston, S. C, who commenced in 1755 a correspondence with Linnaeus and other European botanists, and did much to make American plants known to science. The best known species is G. florida, which does not come from the Cape, but was introduced into England from China in 1754. The double variety is the one most generally cultivated, and is a popular greenhouse plant; it also succeeds in window cultivation; in the southern states it is hardy, and is used for the decoration of cemeteries, dooryards, and the like. The fruit is a large, oblong, orange-colored berry, which is said to be used in China for dyeing yellow. A smaller species, G. radicam, is also cultivated, and there are forms of both with variegated leaves. Those who have no greenhouse can enjoy the Cape jasmine by treating it as a bedding plant, allowing it to grow in the open border during summer, and removing it to a dry frost-proof cellar for the winter.
III. Carolina or Yellow Jasmine, a climbing vine, found from Virginia southward, where it grows in great profusion, festooning the trees and shrubs, and in spring covered with funnel-shaped bright yellow flowers, about an inch across, which have a fragrance similar to that of the true jasmine; when the plant is abundant the odor is almost overpowering. It is the gelsemium sempervi-rens, of the family Loganiacem, and not closely related botanically to the jasmine. The shining leaves are very nearly evergreen, and make the plant an attractive one when not in flower. Within a few years this plant has come into use as a remedial agent, the root having been accidentally discovered to possess remarkable sedative powers.