602 Jasminum multiflorumCommon Names: downy jasmine, star jasmine Family: Oleaceae (olive Family)
Downy jasmine can be thought of as an evergreen, branching vine that can be trained as a shrub, or as a spreading, vine-like shrub. It usually appears as an open, spreading, weeping mound, 5-10 ft (1.5-3.1 m) tall and just as wide. The stems and leaves are covered with a downy pubescence that gives the plant an overall grayish-green appearance. The leaves are ovate and rounded at the base, up to 2 in (5.1 cm) long, and opposite each other on the stem. The white, clustered, star-shaped flowers appear nearly year-round and are not as fragrant as other jasmines.
Jasminum multiflorum is native to India. The downy jasmine is a popular landscape plant all over the world. It has escaped cultivation and become established in disturbed areas scattered throughout peninsular Florida.
CultureDowny jasmine is fast-growing and easy to cultivate in acidic to alkaline soils. Light: Full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Moderately drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Propagation: Propagate by stem cuttings in summer or fall, or by layering.
Give downy jasmine plenty of room to grow in a sprawling mound, or pinch the growing tips frequently to maintain it as an orderly shrub. Downy jasmine is used in foundation plantings, in hedges and borders, and in mass plantings in large landscapes. Take advantage of its tendency to vine and sprawl by letting it cascade down a wall or train it to clamber over a fence.
There are about 200 species of jasmines (or jessamines), all native to the Old World. Jasmine perfumes are made from the flowers of several species, including the aptly named Jasminum odoratissimum, an evergreen shrub from the Canary Islands. An essential oil from Spanish jasmine, also called common jasmine, (J. grandiflorum) is used externally to relax the body and soothe dry skin. Jasmine tea is flavored with the flowers of Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), which, despite its common name, is thought to have originated in SE Asia, but has been in cultivation for so long that no one is sure where it came from.
Many unrelated plants with strongly fragrant flowers are called jasmine. Confederate jasmine, which also is called star jasmine, (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is an evergreen (but not fuzzy-leaved) vine or spreading shrub, in the Apocynaceae or dogbane family. Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) also is in the dogbane family. Night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) is a nightshade (Solanaceae). Cape jasmine is another name for the common gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) in the Rubiaceae, and South Carolina's state flower, Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens), is in the Loganiaceae.
Steve Christman 12/10/99; updated 11/17/03, 12/31/06, 5/6/11