Jasmine flowers; plants, bush, tea, symbolism, tattoos and Arabian jasmine
It’s evening time………. the courtyard sparkled with the matured jasmine buds…… girls of the household went to pluck them and to string.………their hairs got adorned with jasmine strings.
Jasmine plants are mostly climbing shrubs or vines and are easy to grow. They are deciduous, but some plants are evergreen. They bear flowers from spring to fall whereas Arabian jasmine plants flower throughout the year. The leaves are born alternate and the flowers are about 2.5 cm in diameter. Jasmine flowers are starry and are seen in cymose clusters with a minimum of three, but can be single at the end of the leaflet. The number of petals can be from four to nearly nine, single or double. The sepal looks bell-shaped and jasmine flowers are extremely fragrant.
Jasmine bush scents a garden with its own fragrance. Under sunlight or partly shaded regions, jasmine bush can be grown fairly well. In India, especially in South, Jasmine bush is an essential gardening flower. Girls of household pluck these heavenly scented matured flower buds from the bush in the evenings, tie up together and adorn their hairs. A typical jasmine bush can be compared to a galaxy of white stars in the sky.
Jasmine tea was introduced in ancient China that absorbs aroma from jasmine flowers. This scented tea is very sweet and fragrant which has green tea as the base. But white or black tea has also become a common base today for blending with jasmine. Matured jasmine buds plucked in the evenings are put in contact along-with the base tea. By midnight, buds bloom and spread the fragrance among the tea. The tea absorbs the flavor and aroma of jasmine flowers and this repeated processing for about 4 to 6 times makes a whole jasmine tea. Chinese give a prominent place to jasmine tea by serving it to show their welcoming gesture to guests.
Chinese folk song of jasmine flowers
Jasmine is the national flower of many Asian countries. Its heaven like fragrance is said to bring auspicious occasions. Jasmine flowers are procured from distant places to adorn wedding ceremonies and to garland various deities in temples. These romantic flowers are the symbols of love, hope, attachment, affection and motherhood. Feminine beauty is best expressed through the graceful jasmine flowers. Jasmine name is widely used for naming girls in Asia too. The brides in South India are bound to wear jasmine strings and garlands as a customary of the marriage. The jasmine flowers of ‘Madurai’ called ‘Madurai Malligai’ are very popular among those in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In Indonesia, strings of jasmine flowers intertwined intricately are used to adorn the bride’s hair. For them, it is the flower of life, beauty and festive wedding. In Cambodia, jasmines are offered to Sri Buddha as homage. In China, jasmine flower is processed to make tea. In Hawaii, jasmine flowers are strung to make lei.
In my home in Kerala, my mother used to plant different varieties of jasmine that are called ‘Mulla’ in Malayalam. She was very fond of them and she wouldn’t pass a single day without plucking them to string. It is like a custom that married women would lead a long, blissful married life if they adorn their hairs with jasmine strings.
Flower design tattoos are mostly preferred by the women folk. ‘Jasmine’ meaning ‘gift of God’ tattoo represents the pure love. The behavior of a jasmine tattoo wearer should be like the aromatic jasmine flower. Jasmine tattoos are the symbolic representation of attachment, passion and amiability.
Arabian jasmine is the English name for jasminum sambac, native to South and Southeast Asia. It is cultivated mainly for its sweet fragrance. There are numerous cultivars of Arabian jasmine. Some of them are ‘Maid of Orleans’, ‘Belle of India’, ‘Grand Duke of Tuskany’ and ‘Mysore Mulli’. Arabian jasmines are being grouped into these categories depending upon the nature of the petals and leaf shape.
There is a Malayalam quote “Mullapoombodiyettu kidakkum kallinum undamoru sourabhyam” meaning the stone lying near to a jasmine flower also becomes fragrant!! The attachment of jasmine flower is best expressed through this proverb.