The Orange Jasmine is a large multi-trunked shrub or small tree. It is also known as the China Box and belongs to the Rutaceae or Rue family. The fragrant ‘orange blossom’ flowers stand out against the evergreen dark green leaves which are made of three to nine leaflets.
This evergreen shrub flowers at intervals throughout the year, and produces fragrant jasmine-scented flowers and striking bright orange to red fruit. It makes an outstanding boxwood-like hedge or decorative container plant due to its compact habit and dense glossy green foliage. It is generally propagated from the seed.
Orange Jasmine has several medicinal qualities. The Indians have traditionally used its bark for making cosmetics and the leaves as a stimulant and decongestant. The shrub’s astringent qualities have also used to treat bleeding wounds and dysentery, joint pain and body ache. In many parts of Asia, the twigs are chewed and used as a natural toothbrush.
The plant is found from India and China through South East Asia to Malaysia and Northern Australia. It has an alluring fragrance due to which it is cultivated throughout the tropics and sub-tropics. It is called China-box because it can take shearing and is often used in hedges.
It is a hardy shrub and needs light to moderate watering. Feeding is recommended every 20 to 30 days from early spring to mid-autumn, with a break of one month in mid-summer. New growth needs to be pruned to a few leaves, after the shoots have 6 or 7 leaves while propagation can be done by seeds or cuttings.
It needs a container that is glazed and not too shallow, a moderately fertile, well drained soil that is free of nematodes. It needs protection from scales, sooty mold, white flies and nematodes. Otherwise, it is quite a hardy shrub and does not need much care.