AskDefine | Define jasmine

Dictionary Definition

jasmine n : any of several shrubs and vines of the genus Jasminum chiefly native to Asia

User Contributed Dictionary

see Jasmine

English

Noun

  1. Any of several plants, of the genus Jasminum, mostly native to Asia, having fragrant white or yellow flowers.
  2. The perfume obtained from these plants.
  3. Any of several unrelated plants having a similar perfume.
  4. A yellow colour.

Translations

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Extensive Definition

Jasmine or Jessamine (Jasminum) (from Persian yasmin, i.e. "gift from God", via Arabic) is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae),with about 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. The majority of species grow as climbers on other plants or on structures such as chicken wire, gates or fences. The leaves can be either evergreen (green all year round) or deciduous (falling leaves in autumn), and are opposite in most species; leaf shape is simple, trifoliate or pinnate with up to nine leaflets. Jasmine tea is also tradtionally said to help against coughs, sore throats or other problems to do with the bronchites, although there is no scientific evidence to support this.

Description

Jasmine flowers are generally white, although some species have yellow flowers. Unlike most genera in the Oleaceae which have four corolla lobes ("petals"), jasmines often have five or six lobes. They are often strongly and sweetly scented. Flowering is in spring or summer in most species, but in a few species, notably J. nudiflorum, in winter on the bare branches of this deciduous species.

Cultivation and uses

Jasmine is widely cultivated for their flowers, enjoyed in the garden, as house plants, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia. Some claim that the daily consumption of Jasmine tea is effective in preventing certain cancers. Many species also yield an absolute which is used in the production of perfumes and incense.
Jasmine tisane is consumed in China, where it is called Jasmine flower tea (茉莉花茶; pinyin: mò lì huā chá). Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make tea, which often has a base of green tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. The delicate Jasmine flower opens only at night and is plucked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed. They are then stored in a cool place until night. Between six and eight in the evening, as the temperature cools, the petals begin to open. Flowers and tea are "mated" in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes four hours or so for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the Jasmine blossoms, and for the highest grades, this process may be repeated as many as seven times. Because the tea has absorbed moisture from the flowers, it must be refired to prevent spoilage. The spent flowers may or may not be removed from the final product, as the flowers are completely dry and contain no aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves. If present, they simply add visual appeal and are no indication of the quality of the tea. | publisher = Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh }}
  • The World in So Many Words
jasmine in Danish: Jasmin
jasmine in German: Echter Jasmin
jasmine in Spanish: Jazmín
jasmine in French: Jasmin
jasmine in Indonesian: Melati
jasmine in Italian: Jasminum
jasmine in Portuguese: Jasmim
jasmine in Russian: Жасмин
jasmine in Swedish: Jasmin
jasmine in Thai: พุทธชาด
jasmine in Turkish: Yasemin
jasmine in Chinese: 茉莉
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