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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.

Family

Oleaceae

Synonyms

Nyctanthes dentata Blume.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia

Seri gading.

English

Night jasmine, coral jasmine, tree of sadness.

Indonesia

Srigading (Sundanese, Javanese).

Laos

Salikaa.

Thailand

Kannikaa, karanikaa.

Vietnam

Dza hoa, lài tàu.

Geographical Distributions

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is native to the subtropical Himalayas of Nepal and India, and is probably introduced in the more southern parts of India, and in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.

Description

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is a large shrub or small tree that can reach up to 10 m tall. Its bark is scabrous and grey. The branches are spreading, rough, with tetragonal twigs and scabrous.

The leaves are arranged decussately opposite, ovate, measuring (4-)6-12 cm x 2-6.5(-9) cm, wedge-shaped to nearly heart-shaped at the base, acute or acuminate at apex, with entire margin or with a few teeth, very scabrous above with bulbous-based hairs, hairy beneath and with a short petiole.

The flowers are axillary or terminal. The bracteate cymes consist of 2-7-flowered corymbs, with quadrangular, slender peduncle, fragrant and sessile. The sepal is bell-shaped and measures about 5 mm long. The petal is cylindrical, with orange tube and 5-8 spreading, imbricate and more or less contorted, white lobes and measures 5-15 mm long. There are 2 stamens that are inserted near the top of the petal tube. The style is about as long as the petal tube while the stigma is obscurely bifid.

The fruit is a heart-shaped to almost orbicular flat capsule. It is about 2 cm across, brown, 2-celled and opens transversely from the apex. There is 1 compressed seed per cell. 

Ecology / Cultivation

In its native area, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is found on rocky ground in dry hillsides and as undergrowth in dry deciduous forests. It can be cultivated from sea level up to 1500 m altitude at the equator, within a wide range of rainfall patterns and from seasonal to non-seasonal. It tolerates moderate shade. The flowers open at sunset and usually wither after sunrise the next day.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Nyctanthes_arbor-tristis

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.3: Dye and Tannin-Producing Plants

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