Project Description

Orange Jessamine

Murraya panticulata is a tropical plant  known as Orange Jessamine and is a member of the Rutacea family, not the citrus family as its common name might imply. It is also known as satinwood, lakeview jasmine, chalcas and mock orange among other names across the globe. It is naturally found from India through to Malaysia but since humans began cultivating the plant it has become pantropical, meaning its found on all the major continents. It is only considered invasive in 3 of the areas where it’s been introduced: Hawaii, France and Mauritis (HEAR, 2008).

This evergreen shrub usually grows between 8 and 12 ft. in height, is sometimes mistaken for artificial because the leaves are glossy in a way that almost makes them look plastic and is characterized by its fragrant white flowers and its small red/orange fruits.  There are few flowers on each plant, however they have a very fragrant orange-blossom scent that can be smelt from 10 ft. away. These flowers attract insects for pollination, whereas birds are attracted to the fruits on the plant to facilitate seed dispersal (Gilman, 1999).

Orange Jessamine is a popular choice for ornamentation for reasons besides its pleasant fragrance; it also has year-round flowering, high drought tolerance, rapid growth and grows well as a hedge due to its clumping or multi-trunked stems. It grows best in part shade, part sun and prefers a tropical environment. It is propagated easily with seeds and this is the preferred method; however with some difficulty propagation can occur through cuttings.

Besides ornamentation, it has many historical ethnobotanical uses, despite the fact that the effectiveness of these uses has not been verified by modern science. It was used in cosmetics, gynecology and as a bacteriocide, in addition to being used to treat a wide variety of conditions such as herpes, dysentery, rheumatism, tapeworms, stoatosis, stomach aches, coughs, diarrhea and open wounds (USDA, 2013).

Unfortunately, in addition to its susceptibility to soil nematodes, scales, sooty mold and whiteflies, it is also the preferred host of the insect Diaphorina citri (HEAR, 2008). D. citri is the insect vector for the huanglongbing bacterial disease, also known as citrus greening, which infects the plant and eventually kills it (HEAR, 2008).

Works Cited

Gilman, E. F. (1999) Murraya Panticulata (Fact Sheet). Institute of Food and Agricultural Services. Retrieved from http://www.coralsprings.org/environment/SmallTreeList/pdf/MURPANA.pdf on January 8, 2014.

Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project (HEAR). (2008). Pacific Island Species at Risk: Murraya Panticulata. Retrieved from http://www.hear.org/pier/species/murraya_paniculata.htm on January 8, 2014.

United States Department of Agriculture, ARS, National Genetics Program (2013). Murraya Panticulata (L.) Jack. Germplasm Resources Information Center. Retrieved from http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?24704 on January 8, 2014.