Characteristics of Gardenia Tree (Gardenia jasminoides) in the Wild

Gardenia jasminoides
Gardenias are green flowering plants of the family Rubiaceae. This plant originates from Asia and is most often found growing wild in Vietnam, South China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh.

Gardenia trees have been cultivated in China for at least 1000 years. The tree was also introduced to England in the mid 18th century.

Many varieties are currently cultivated for ornamental plants, with low growth and dense flowering.

The gardenia tree was first described by the British botanist John Ellis in 1761 after he had brought it to England in the 1750s.

Gardenias are often associated with Jasmine, but the two are not related at all. That’s because the flowers produced and the shape of the two trees are similar.

In English-speaking countries, the gardenia tree is called Cape jasmine, while in Indonesia it is known by its local name, Kacapiring.


Characteristics of Gardenia Leaf

Gardenia jasminoides Leaf
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The leaves are dark green and shiny.


Characteristics of Gardenia Flower

Gardenia jasminoides Flower
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Gardenias are white, fragrant, and have a matte texture. The flowers can grow in a fairly large size, with a diameter of up to 10 cm.

The flowers appear in summer and autumn. The appearance of flowers is often accompanied by small oval fruits.

At present, there are many gardenia cultivars that have been developed, where Gardenia jasminoides var. mystery that has a double flower shape/stack becomes the most popular. Whereas Gardenia jasminoides var. radicans are cultivars used as bonsai subjects because they grow low and spread.


Characteristics of Gardenia Tree

Gardenia jasminoides Tree
Source : and Kim Starr

Gardenia trees grow into dense shrubs with heights reaching 3-4 meters. Whitish bark.

The tree is widely used as an ornamental tree and planted in gardens or house yards. Gardenias grow well in soils with acid content between 5.0-6.5 pH and are well-drained.

The tree is also considered rather difficult to maintain in areas with cold and humid weather. People who live in the northern hemisphere need a greenhouse to plant and maintain gardenia trees. However, in a warm and rather hot place, this tree can be planted outdoors and easily grows, especially if placed in an area that is exposed to sunlight throughout the day.


In Japan, dried gardenia fruit is used as textile coloring agents and traditional cake coloring (wagashi) and pickled radish (takuan).

The flowers are cut flower commodities, often used in bouquets and corsages.

People in the Pacific islands use gardenias to make flower garlands called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in France, and Lei in Hawaii.

The leaves can be used as an ulcer medicine and the root as a toothache medicine.

In traditional Chinese medicine, gardenia fruit is also included as one of the raw materials for making drugs that functions to reduce fever.


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