The genus Jasminum is widely distributed throughout the world with about 12 Australian species and around 300 species world-wide. They are generally trailing, climbing or erect shrubs. A number of exotic species are popular garden plants because of their highly perfumed flowers, but some like white jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) have become environmental weeds in some areas. Not all jasmines are scented.
Jasminum suavissimum is a twining plant with narrow, elliptical leaves to about 50 mm long. The perfumed, white flowers occur in loose clusters towards the ends of the branches and are around 15 mm in diameter. Seeds are black, fleshy berries. Flowering occurs in late spring and early summer.
J. suavissimum is hardy in most reasonably drained soils. It is an ideal replacement for the exotic jasmine species as it has an equally pleasant perfume that permeates the entire garden, particularly on still nights in spring and early summer. Like most climbing plants it will twine around other plants if planted too close and if not trimmed to keep it under control. If planted in an area away from other plants it can be grown as a shrub. J.suavissimum prefers full sun or partial shade and is moderately frost resistant. If damaged by frost it will usually recover quickly.
Propagation is easy from cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth. Seeds also germinate well without any pre-treatment.
Photo: Brian Walters