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Gardenia

From The Plant Encyclopedia

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Gardenia jasminoides

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Gardenia

Category
Kingdom Plantae
Division
Class
Order Gentianales
Family Rubiaceae
Species in this genus
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About

Gardenia is a genus of 142 species[1] of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. Several species occur on Hawaii, where gardenias are known as nau or nānū.

The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottish-born American naturalist.

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, long and broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white, or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5-12 lobes (petals) from diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer and many species are strongly scented.

Selected species

Cultivation and uses

Gardenia plants are prized for the strong sweet scent of their flowers, which can be very large in some species.

Gardenia jasminoides (syn. G. grandiflora, G. Florida) is cultivated as a house plant. This species can be difficult to grow because it originated in warm humid tropical areas. It demands high humidity to thrive and bright (not direct) light. It flourishes in acidic soils with good drainage and thrives on [68-74 F temperatures (20-23 C)][1] during the day and 60 F (15-16 C) in the evening. Potting soils developed especially for gardenias are available. G. jasminoides grows no larger than 18 inches in height and width when grown indoors. In climates where it can be grown outdoors, it can attain a height of 6 feet. If water hits the flowers, they will turn brown. [2]

In Japan and China, Gardenia jasminoides is called Kuchinashi (Japanese) and Zhi zi (Chinese 梔子); the bloom is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

In France, decades ago, Gardenia was the traditional flower which men wore sometimes as boutonnières on special occasions.

It is the national flower of Pakistan.

Jazz singer Billie Holiday was known to wear gardenias in her hair, one of her most noticeable features. She called them her trademark. [3]

Crocetin is a chemical compound found in gardenia fruit (Gardenia jasminoides Ellis). In high concentrations, it has protective effects against retinal damage in vitro and in vivo.[4]

See also

References

  1. "WCSP". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/. Retrieved 2010. 
  2. Reader's Digest. Success with House Plants. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. New York/Montreal. 217
  3. Gardenias on the Left—Lady Day, Human Flower Project
  4. Yamauchi, M; Tsuruma, K; Imai, S; Nakanishi, T; Umigai, N; Shimazawa, M; Hara, H (2011). "Crocetin prevents retinal degeneration induced by oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stresses via inhibition of caspase activity". European journal of pharmacology 650 (1): 110–9. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2010.09.081. PMID 20951131. 

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