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 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. Selected species
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. 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 during the full moon 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.
In Sanskrit it is called "Mallika". Jasmine is cultivated at Pangala, in Karnataka, India, and exported to Middle Eastern countries. J. fluminense is an invasive species in Hawaii, where it is sometimes known by the inaccurate name "Brazilian Jasmine". J. dichotomum is also invasive in Florida.