Characteristics of Jasmine Sambac Tree (Jasminum sambac) in the Wild

Jasminum sambac
Sambac jasmine or Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is a species of jasmine native to southern Asia (India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka). This flower is one of Indonesia’s three national flowers known as “Melati Putih”, which was officially established through a 1990 law. Two other Indonesian national flowers are the Moon Orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis) and the Giant Padma (Rafflesia arnoldii).

Sambac jasmine trees are often planted as garden ornamental plants and can be used as living fences.


The importance of Sambac jasmine in Indonesian culture has been known much older. The tree has long been recognized as a sacred flower in Indonesian tradition, symbolizing purity, modest elegance, and sincerity. Sambac jasmine also symbolizes beauty in simplicity and humility, although the shape of this flower is small and simple, the fragrance is very fragrant.

Sambac jasmine is the most important flower in wedding ceremonies for various ethnic groups in Indonesia, especially on the island of Java. Jasmine flower buds that have not fully bloomed are usually picked, collected, and assembled into jasmine roncean. On the wedding day, the bride and groom are decorated with roncean jasmine which forms a net to wrap the bun, and some form a jasmine chain that hangs from the bride’s head.

Sambac jasmine is also often associated with the spirits of the dead and the dead. In Indonesian struggle songs and poems, the fall of the jasmine flower is often used as a symbol of the death of heroes who sacrificed for the sake of the nation and state. This meaning is very similar to the fall of cherry blossoms in Japanese tradition which symbolizes the death of warriors. The patriotic songs “Melati di Tapal Batas” (1947) by Ismail Marzuki and “Melati Suci” (1974) by Guruh Sukarnoputra describe jasmine as a hero who died on the battlefield, whose fragrance is always present as a Kusuma (flowers are given to boys) that adorns Mother Earth. The song “Melati dari Jayagiri” (1971) by Iwan Abdurachman likens jasmine to the beauty of a holy girl and the love of the past that has been lost and is always missed.



Sambac jasmine in Indonesia is believed to have a spicy, sweet, and cool taste of flowers and leaves. Simplicia used in this treatment has anti-inflammatory properties, stimulates sweating, laxative urine, and relieves breath. The root has a sweet, spicy, neutral taste and is slightly toxic. It is numbing (anesthesia), and relieving pain (analgesic).

Diseases that can be treated by Sambac jasmine root are swelling, pain, toothache, and headaches. Sambac jasmine leaves and flowers are used to treat flu, diarrhea, fever, ulcers, and stop breast milk. A root bath mixed with coconut oil is used for ear drops.


WARNING: Medicinal ingredients made from parts of the Sambac jasmine tree are prohibited to be taken by pregnant women and have weak body conditions.


Characteristics of Sambac Jasmine Leaf

Jasminum sambac Leaf

The leaves are single, opposite, short-stemmed, about 5 mm in size. The leaves are ovoid, to protruding, the tip is pointed, the base is rounded, the edges are flat, the leaf bones are pinnate, with a size of 5-10 cm × 4-6 cm.


Characteristics of Sambac Jasmine Flower

Jasminum sambac Flower

The inflorescences are compound, growing in the axils of the leaves, limited to 3 flowers or a dense bunch with many flowers.

The flowers are single or in pairs (in cultivated varieties), with 7-10 petal segments, 3-7 mm long, downy, 7-15 mm long crown tube, 5 lobes, ovate or oval, 8-15 mm long, and colored White. The flower crown is in the form of a shriveled sheet, like a trumpet, which is white, and very fragrant.


Characteristics of Jasmine Sambac Tree

Jasminum sambac Tree
Source: Nguyễn

Sambac jasmine can be grown into a shrub, vine, or small tree up to 2 meters high. The tree has a loose or drooping crown, which is loose when young but gets denser with age. The stems are round woody, brown, with a diameter of up to 20 cm. The roots are tapped, difficult to break, even if they are broken, the scars are uneven, and also not fibrous.

Sambac jasmine is commonly cultivated in India, Bangladesh, and some other tropical countries as an ornamental plant and is used to make flower arrangements.

In China, Sambac jasmine is a mixed tea drink called Teh Melati (茉莉花茶) and is the theme of Mo Li Hua’s folk song.


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