- Chinese Ivy
- Chinese Jasmine
- Confederate Jasmine
- Star Jasmine
- Trader’s Compass
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) belongs to the genus Jasminum. It is not the real jasmine, but the fragrance of its flowers is similar to that of the true jasmine.
The stem of star jasmine is somewhat woody and being an evergreen climber, it is effective in beautifying any garden structure or bare wall. This vine has deep green foliage comprising oval-shaped shiny leaves that remain lush green all through the period from spring to summer. Towards the end of autumn, the color of these leaves change to red or purple. The plants produce several clusters of star-shaped, creamy-white flowers that not only make the place where they are grown very attractive, but also impart a sweet aroma to the air in the vicinity.
When young, the stems of Trachelospermum jasminoides are reddish-brown and pubescent or glabrous that is more often than not branched and have spotted lenticels on the outside. These lenticels serve as pores for the plants. The leaves of star jasmine are arranged opposite to each other and the petiole measures anything between 2 cm and 5 cm in length. The young leaves are thickly covered with greyish-brown fine hairs, which drop as the leaves mature. The leaf blade has an oval or elliptical shape. Sometimes, they are also lanceolate and measure between 2 cm and 8 cm in length and 1.5 cm and 4 cm in width. The apex of the leaves is acute or obtuse, while they are rounded or broadly cuneate around the base as well as the entire margin.
The inflorescence of star jasmine is axillary and measure about 5 cm in length. The plant bears white, aromatic flowers. The calyx of Trachelospermum jasminoides flowers is small and divided into five parts; the floral tube has a cylindrical shape and measures anything between 3 mm and 6 mm and is puberulous or minutely pubescent. Each flower has five stamens, two carpels and numerous ovules. The shape of the follicles is cylindrical and measures around 15 cm. The flowers bloom between April and May, while the fruits appear in October. The seeds of star jasmine are linear, brown and flat having a bunch of very bright and soft fur.
Star jasmine is generally found growing on its own in plains, mountains and wastelands. These plants grow as creepers and vines and often found attaching them to walls, rocks and plants for support and growing on them. In addition, in the gardens, they are also grown in the form of ornamental plants, usually in a pot or on chain link fence.
It is worth mentioning here that star jasmine plants are not true jasmine. They have been named jasmine because the star-shaped, white flowers of this species bear close resemblance to the true jasmine in appearance as well as the sweet scent. Besides being a very popular plant that is widely used as a ground cover, star jasmine is also a very widespread Chinese herb, which possesses remarkable healing properties. This herb is often used for treating arthritis, stroke, arthralgia and several other health problems related to the tendons and blood vessels.
The leaf of star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) possesses tonic and restorative properties. This herb is particularly beneficial for elderly people. The flowering stem of this herb has been found to be anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, febrifuge, emmenagogue, depurative, tonic, resolvent and vasodilator. A decoction prepared from the flowering stem is used for treating abscesses, sore throats, rheumatoid arthritis, and various types of boils. The seed of this herb is haemostatic as well as cardio-tonic. The entire plant is also cooked along with different types of foods and employed to cure rheumatism.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is believed that vines possess the ability to work on our dredging channels and collaterals, as they bear resemblance to meridians – both in appearance as well as mechanism. In fact, star jasmine is also believed to no different. Therapeutically, this herb helps to unwind the tendons and turn on the collaterals. Owing to these properties of this herb, it is among the most effective herbs for treating tendon spasms.
Habitat and cultivation
Star jasmine plants can grow well in nearly all types of soils. These plants are also capable of enduring droughts after they succeed in spreading their roots underground. This plant can be grown under direct sunlight as well as in places where there is partial shade. However, you should ideally grow them in full sun if you wish to get the most out of their flowering potential.
Trachelospermum jasminoides is an attractive vine, which is highly valued for its extremely aromatic, white, star-shaped flowers. You can plant this herb on the terrace, patio or the entrance of your house to enjoy the fragrance of its flowers. If you live in a frost-free region, you can train star jasmine plants to grow on walls, posts or trellises. You can also let them grow as a groundcover. In places having colder climates, this is a wonderful plant for growing in containers during the summer. In warmer places, star jasmine is an evergreen plant.
In places having cold climatic conditions, it is advisable to grow this herb under glass during the winter. However, they need to be planted outdoors in a sheltered location. You can propagate star jasmine though layering or cuttings.
If you want to grow star jasmine in the form of an upright plant, it is advisable that you tie the vine to any support or trellis. Tie the vine at intervals of roughly 8 inches. Ensure that the plants are not tied very firmly, as it may break the vines and also restrict their growth.
Smidgen the back of the growing tips of star jasmine’s upper most bud during spring to stimulate the growth of the plants. It should be done immediately when the plants resume their growth. In fact, pinching the buds promotes the growth of lateral branches of these vines, enabling them to swathe their support completely. Similarly, if you are growing this vine as a ground cover, you should pinch the tips of their buds at intervals of two weeks till the plants star flowering. Pinching the ground cover star jasmine plants will help them to become more compact.
This confederate jasmine should be pruned in the beginning of summer once its flowering season is over. You should cut back the stems that might have overgrown. They need to be reduced to desirable length with a view to maintain their shape and size and also to keep them in control. Also remove the dead branches as well as those that have been damaged during the end of winter or early spring.
Usually, star jasmine is grown in the garden as a houseplant or an ornamental plant. This species is grown as a ground cover and climbing vine in gardens, parks and public landscapes. On the other hand, you can grow this plant bearing aromatic flowers in pots and place them on patios and terraces. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) needs moderate amounts of water, fertilizer and a structure to support their growth, for instance a secondary plant or a trellis.
This species is extensively cultivated in California, especially in South-eastern United States, the region which forms the erstwhile Confederate States of America. As a result, this plant is also called confederate jasmine. This plant is also known as trader’s compass. The latter common name of this species has its origin in an ancient Uzbekistan adage that states it helped the traders in the region to travel in the right direction. However, this was said to be true only in the case of star jasmine plants possessing the typical features of this species. In Europe, it is known as star jasmine, while it is called Chinese ivy or Chinese jasmine in various regions of Asia.
Chemical analysis of star jasmine stem revealed that it contains:
Star jasmine leaves contain alkaloids like coronaridine, voacangine, apparicine, conoflorine or vobasine.
The whole star jasmine herb contains:
- lupeol acetate
Side effects and cautions
In general, it is believed that star jasmine contains very low levels of toxins. This herb has been found to be safe for most people during clinical tests, provided it is used appropriately.