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Gardenia is a genus of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands.[1]

Gardenia
Gardeniaflower.jpg
Gardenia jasminoides
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe: Gardenieae
Genus: Gardenia
J.Ellis
Species

See text

The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus and John Ellis after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730–1791), a Scottish-born American naturalist.[2]

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1–15 metres (3.3–49.2 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, 5–50 centimetres (2.0–19.7 in) long and 3–25 centimetres (1.2–9.8 in) broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white, or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5–12 lobes (petals) from 5 to 12 centimetres (2.0 to 4.7 in) diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer, and many species are strongly scented.

Contents

SpeciesEdit

As of March 2014 The Plant List recognises 140 accepted species (including infraspecific names):[3]

Cultivation and usesEdit

Gardenia plants are prized for the strong sweet scent of their flowers, which can be very large in size in some species.

Gardenia jasminoides (syn. G. grandiflora, G. Florida) is cultivated as a house plant. This species can be difficult to grow because it originated in warm humid tropical areas. It demands high humidity to thrive, and bright (not direct) light. It flourishes in acidic soils with good drainage and thrives on [68-74 F temperatures (20-23 C)][4] during the day and 60 F (15-16 C) in the evening. Potting soils developed especially for gardenias are available. G. jasminoides grows no larger than 18 inches in height and width when grown indoors. In climates where it can be grown outdoors, it can attain a height of 6 feet. If water touches the flowers, they will turn brown.[5]

In China and Japan, Gardenia jasminoides is called zhīzi (子) and kuchinashi (), respectively. Its fruit is used as a yellow dye,[6] used on fabric and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk). Its fruits are also used in traditional Chinese medicine for their clearing, calming, and cooling properties.[7]

In France, gardenias are the flower traditionally worn by men as boutonnière when in evening dress. In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton suggests it was customary for upper-class men from New York City to wear a gardenia in their buttonhole during the Gilded Age.[8]

Sigmund Freud remarked to the poet H.D. that gardenias were his favorite flower.[9]

In Tiki culture, "Donn Beach", aka Don the Beachcomber, frequently wore a fresh lei of gardenias almost everyday at his Tiki bars, allegedly spending $7,800 for flowers over the course of four years in 1938.[10] He named one of his drinks the Mystery Gardenia cocktail. Trader Vic frequently used the gardenia as a flower garnish in his Tiki drinks, such as in the Scorpion and Outrigger Tiara cocktails.[11]

Several species occur in Hawaii, where gardenias are known as naʻu or nānū.

Crocetin is a chemical compound usually obtained from Crocus sativus, which can also be obtained from the fruit of Gardenia jasminoides.[12]

Hattie McDaniel famously wore gardenias in her hair when she accepted an Academy Award, the first for an African American, for Gone With The Wind. Mo'Nique Hicks later wore gardenias in her hair when she won her Oscar as a tribute to McDaniels.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Tao Chen; Charlotte M. Taylor, "Gardenia J. Ellis, Philos. Trans. 51: 935. 1761", Flora of China online, 19
  2. ^ "LXXXII. An account of the plants Halesia and Gardenia : In a letter from John Ellis, Esq; F. R. S. To Philip Carteret Webb, Esq; F. R. S". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 51: 929–935. 1759. doi:10.1098/rstl.1759.0084.
  3. ^ "Gardenia". The Plant List. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  4. ^ http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/gardenia.html
  5. ^ Reader's Digest. Success with House Plants. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. New York/Montreal. 217
  6. ^ Ozaki, A.; Kitano, M.; Furusawa, N.; Yamaguchi, H.; Kuroda, K.; Endo, G. (2002), "Genotoxicity of gardenia yellow and its components", Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40 (11): 1603–1610, doi:10.1016/S0278-6915(02)00118-7
  7. ^ http://www.sacredlotus.com/herbs/get.cfm/chinese_herb/zhi_zi_gardenia_cape_jasmine_fruit
  8. ^ Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, Wordsworth Classic, 1999, p. 4
  9. ^ H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). "Tribute to Freud." New Directions, Boston 1974 p11
  10. ^ Bitner, Arnold (2001). Hawai'i Tropical Rum Drinks by Don the Beaschcomber. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing. p. 18.
  11. ^ Vic, Trader (1972). Bartender's Guide, Revised (revised ed.). Garden City, NY: Double Day & Co. p. 179.
  12. ^ Yamauchi, M; Tsuruma, K; Imai, S; Nakanishi, T; Umigai, N; Shimazawa, M; Hara, H (2011). "Crocetin prevents retinal degeneration induced by oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stresses via inhibition of caspase activity". European Journal of Pharmacology. 650 (1): 110–9. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2010.09.081. PMID 20951131.

External linksEdit