The-Night-Blooming-Jessamine

The queen of the night, scientifically known as Cestrum nocturnum L. belongs to plant family solanaceae is an evergreen shrub which grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions all over the world. Cestrum nocturnum L. is famous ornamental plant due to its showy and scented white flowers.

By Zil-e-Haleefa, H.U. Khan, Sadia Munir, Shahnaz Zakia, Ghulam Abbas

Introduction:

It is also cultivated as a medicinal plant. The medicinal properties of night blooming Jessamine include antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-HIV, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepato-protective, analgesic, anti-convulsant. The plant is a unique gift of nature due to its aesthetic as well as medicinal value. It is a garden shrub belongs to the plant family Solanaceae (Night Shade) family. It is commonly known as Lady of the Night, Queen of the Night and Night blooming Jessamine. The species named “nocturnum” refers to the species habit of opening its small heavily-scented flowers at night. It is the world’s strongest smelling plant. Undoubtedly, its scent can reach up to 165 feet away from the location of plant. The flowers release strong sweet perfume at night which is used as attar in Indian and Middle East perfumery. It is used as remedy for different health disorders. So it is concluded that night blooming jasmine is an ornamental plant with multifaceted industrial and medicinal uses which is highly beneficial to human beings for the treatment of many fetal diseases. Yet it has one hidden effect.

Taxonomy:

Taxonomically the plant is placed under the plant Solanaceae, available all over the Pakistan & cultivated as ornamental plant. The plant is 1.5-2 m tall shrubs. The leaves are about 6-15 × 1.7-5.8 cm, ovate-lanceolate. Flowers are greenish white or creamy white. Corolla 2-2.5 cm long with the five acute lobes 10-13 millimeters in diameter and are clustered in axil of leaves. Berries are white or deep purple. Cestrum species produces small white berries about 8 to 10 mm long, with seeds having ability of being dispersed by birds. The plants has many local names varying from region to region and country to country. The variety of vernacular names is shown in Annex 01.

1

Figure 1: The scented flower opens up at night.

  1. nocturnum is beautiful plant with charming blooms, the scent also produces severe allergic reactions in some individuals.

Distribution:

The genus Cestrum has 300 species and they are mostly native to warm tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. It is widely cultivated tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world including Pakistan, India, China, Iraq, Hong Kong, Singapore West Indies, Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Australia and USA.

2

Figure 2: The map with the geographic distribution of Cestrum nocturnum L. (www.discoverlife.org )

It is considered that Cestrum nocturnum L.(Queen Of The Night) has originated in Central America.But some sources have been reported that some species to be native to the Antilles West Indies.

Cultivation:

  1. nocturnum is cultivated in moist or wet forest, dense lowland forests and is commonly cultivated in gardens. It does not able to tolerate drought and frost. Optimal growth takes place at 80˚F. It is believed that night blooming Jessamine blooms in night and it needs six hours of sunlight and little part of shade every day to bloom. But excessive sun exposure causes leaves to wilt. It grows excellent in average to moist soil having neutral pH 6.6-7.5 light and sandy. The simple useful and cost effective method of propagation of night blooming jasmine is by sowing seeds. Some seeds are encased in white barriers which have 8-10mm diameter. These seeds are produced after 18 months of establishment which may remain dormant for many years. Soaking of seeds in water for 24 hours enhance germination. The species readily propagates through cutting of roots and stem. The seeds germinate mostly in autumn with young plants taking two or more years to flower and set seed. Mature plants will flower and seed each year. The established plants are semi-deciduous, losing most of their leaves during winter and producing rapid new growth in spring. Cestrum species sucker freely from the base of their stumps are not treated after cutting. The plant will also grow from sections of the fleshy root which remain after a plant has been a little bit pulled out. Vegetative reproduction is also possible from cut roots or buds from creeping roots.

Ornamental Value:

Cestrum nocturnum L is an aromatic plant which is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens due to its fragrant and showy white flowers and release sweet-scented perfume at night. It is one of the famous and desirable plants, which is commonly grown in gardens and parks for its fragrant flowers. The flowers are pale yellow to white open at night and stay extremely fragrant until sunrise. This attracts night pollinators such as moths and humming birds. Its fragrance is sweet and pleasant. Because of the strongest smelling characteristics of C. nocturnum, it is used in many industries for making perfumes, essential oils, soap, candles, body oils etc.

Toxic facts about Jessamine:

All parts of Cestrum species are toxic to mammals and may be extremely toxic to cattle, particularly during the months of June and July, and early spring when the photochemical present in it become highly active. Utilization of Cestrum species in large quantities may result in death of animals. The less severe poisoning is due to the symptoms such as salivation, watering of the eyes, unsteady gait, hastened breathing, weak pulse and increasing weakness caused by a disease commonly known as the “Chase valley Disease”. Cestrum species are known to cause respiratory problems from the scent and feverish symptoms following ingestion. It cause nausea, irritation, sore throat and fever in some cases. It has many medicinal properties like anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial cyto-toxic hypoglycemic, antipyretic and wound healing effect but its toxic effect cannot be neglected.

Conclusion:

The plant is very common in Pakistan and well known for its ornamental value. It is cultivated in the temperate regions of the country due to its sensitive nature. The plant is temperature sensitive it cannot withstand extreme high and low temperature, therefore only grows in moderate conditions. Everyone is well aware of its ornamental and medicinal values as it is frequently used in pharmacological and cosmetic industry due to its aromatic nature. There is an additional factor associated with it that is less explored. Its toxic properties are also studied and reported but most of the people are unaware of it.  So in this article its toxic facts are highlighted. We should take care of that. Besides this the plant is highly beneficial and useful in our daily life.

Annex 01: The vernacular names of Cestrum nocturnum.

Sr. no.

  Vernacular names

Language

Country/Region

1

Nox Aenean Virent Latin Italy

Latin

·         Italy

2

Ye Xiang Shu Chinese China

Chinese

·         China

3

Night Blooming Jasmine

 Queen of the night

English

·         USA

·         England

·         New Zealand

4

Jasmin de Nuit; Galant de Nuit

French

·         France

5

Nacht Jasmin; Nacht- Hammerstrauch

German

·         Germany

6

Raat  Ki Rani

Hindi/Urdu

·         Pakistan & India

7

Yakokwa

Japanese

·         Japan