Star Jasmine

By Heidi Bornhorst

A classic old fashioned, fragrant hedge and special plant.  Maybe a LEI plant?  for small fingers and with a delicate lei needle…..

‘What kind of pikake is this?’, asked my friend Joan Takamori as she walked by our front planting strip.

I had propagated some from Mary Osorio’s house when she moved away to Wahiawa, and stuck it out front for others to enjoy too.

Its flowering so nicely in winter and it does have the great pikake perfume!

So tough 

so pretty 

so reminiscent ….

My parents planted a star jasmine hedge and Singapore Plumeria trees outside their bedroom window.

So Akamai my Mom, on Landscape Design!

Our family yard in Makiki was pretty bare at first, except for tons of coconut trees, a date palm, Chinese banyan, giant yellow poinciana tree and more. My folks carefully edited out some of the excess and overly large, big trees as time went by so we could grow more food and more fragrant and fun flowers.

My Dad chiseled out a parking spot by chiseling and sledge hammering out the rock cliff below and he carried up the rocks and made rock walls to keep us kolohe kids contained. (Good cross-training for a Surfer!)

And what a great Landscape Design Concept: Fragrance outside your bedroom window• To waft in on the lovely brisk Tradewinds• To float in gently on warm kona winds•

Star jasmine is an old kama`aina favorite that we don’t see planted so often these days

It’s tough, easy to grow, fragrant and has nice fuzzy leaves. It has a “clean” look with its olive-green leave and clusters of bright white fragrant blossoms. It’s easy to propagate and pretty much pest free.

And the Flowers are fragrant.

As Joan intrinsically knew; it is related to pikake.

Amazingly the fragrance is very similar to our cherished pikake Jasminum sambac.

As true pikake has some bad bud stinging pests now (an alien fly) and growers sometimes overspray insecticide on the buds. Lei making is not FOOD so there are no legal restrictions on how recently it was sprayed with insect poison.

Growers have gotten sick from this, and recently when I wear a pikake lei, though I love the fragrance, my stomach feels a bit sick after a while.)

Maybe we could make a fragrant lei of Star jasmine instead?

Another name for star jasmine is Poet’s jasmine. The Latin name is Jasminum officinale. Star Jasmine is native from the Trans Caucasus to Southern Central China.

It is in the Oleaceae or Olive plant family

You can Grow it from Cuttings.

Star jasmine is Pretty easy to grow from cuttings. Harvest semi-woody branches, about 4-6” inches long, stickthem directly in the ground or in a pot of highquality potting mix and soil. Water daily.


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