Posted by John Minton | Posted in Plants | Last Updated March 3, 2014
Tags: Bush, Fragrant, White Flowers
Jasminum Sambac does not refer to a specific plant, more or less it is a group of closely related plants. I would like to explain some of the key differences in the more common varieties but as of yet the primary differences lay in the flowers and my plants are not flowered yet so I will be updating at a later date to include more of this type of information. Nyctanthes is a botanical name that may refer to any variation of Jasminum Sambac.
Most Jasminum Sambac species are also commonly called Arabian Jasmine, Sambac Jasmine, Sampaguita, Pikake and Hawaiian Peacock Jasmine. Because of the inconsistency’s and similarities of the Jasminum Sambac family the many varieties are easily confused with each other. Unless you are very familiar with the plants first hand it can be very difficult to identify them by their leaves alone.
Jasminum Sambac “Maid Of Orleans”
This type of Jasminum Sambac is the variant that the Hawaiian Princess Kaiulani named Pikake after the peacocks that roamed her Waikiki gardens. Technically this should be the only Jasminum Sambac variety that is properly named Pikake, other variations of Jasminum Sambac, such as Grand Duke of Tuscany and Mali Chat, should not be called Pikake.
Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans can be used to make Jasmine Tea, can be baked into foods and oil extracts can be produced from the flowers. My Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans tends to like some humidity in the house otherwise it gets dried leaves. I actually broke my Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans into 5 different plants, ensuring each section planted had some roots and so far they seam to be doing fine. They have not flowered yet, but one of them has some new growth, so that a good sign. I have these plants planted in a potting soil & sand mixture. After a plant has been in a pot long enough the soil may become hard and compact, mixing in some sand seams to help this quite a bit. When I bought my Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans I cleaned out the soil from it’s roots (to ensure no little critters get into my soil) and replanted it, but I noticed too that the soil from the nursery had a lot of sand mixed into the soil. I’ll have to experiment further to see if Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans likes a more sandy soil or not.
Jasminum Sambac “Belle of India”
Jasminum Sambac Belle of India is another edible variety of the Sambac group. With the leaves of the Jasminum Sambac Belle of India looking much like the Jasminum Sambac Maid of Orleans it can be difficult to distinguish the differences between the two unless they are flowering.
Jasminum Sambac “Grand Duke of Tuscany”
Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany is another edible variety of the Sambac group. From what I read the process of making tea from this variation is very different than just mixing the flowers in your hot water (though I am sure that would work too). I believe they use a machine that is loaded up with the flowers and green tea, and I assume it alternated between adding humidity then heat, so that the tea is aromatically flavored with the scent of the Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany flowers. The leaves of the Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany are quite different from the other variations, growing pretty consistently up the branches in groups of three. The Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany typically flowers at the end of the branches and look more like small white roses! There is a variation of Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany that is called Jasminum Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany Supreme, which has larger flowers and elongated leaves. I have yet to see this variation in person.
Jasminum Sambac “Arabian Nights”
I don’t have enough information on Jasminum Sambac Arabian Nights yet to give you any good information, but it does exist and may become available soon so I decided to add it to the list.
Jasminum Sambac “Mali Chat”
I don’t have enough information on Jasminum Sambac Mali Chat yet to give you any good information, but it does exist and may become available soon so I decided to add it to the list.
Jasminum Sambac “Mysore Mulli”
I don’t have enough information on Jasminum Sambac Mysore Mulli yet to give you any good information, but it does exist and may become available soon so I decided to add it to the list.
(Some images from TopTropicals. While they sell many variety of Jasminum Sambac, they do not ship to California.)