Living in the tropical zone of Canada, I can grow all kinds of plants which can not survive anywhere else in the country. We still are not happy though and continue to push the boundaries and try things which will barely survive or outright die in a cold winter. Two members of the exotic (at least to me) Jasmine family grow here and best of those is Winter Blooming Jasmine(Jasmine nudiflorum).
Jasmine or Jessamine are a group of 200 species made up of shrubs and climbing vines, they are found mainly in tropical areas with the exception of a few which live in more temperate areas of the world. Jasmine (Jasminium) is from a form of later medieval Latin and is from the Persian name Yasmin or Yasamin. ‘Nudiflorum’ refers to the flowers blooming before there are any leaves on the plant. Winter Flowering Jasmine comes from China and has been cultivated since ancient times there. Here it was introduced in western cultivation in 1844 by Robert Fortune. It is interesting that the only form found in the wild now is Jasminium nudiflorum var. pulvinatum which has been collected by George Forrest in Yunnan.
Jasmine are from the Oleacae family named for the Olive tree(Olea europea). The Oleacae family has 29 genera which includes the familiar Lilacs(Syringa), Osmanthus, Forsythia, Ash trees(Fraxinus) and Privet(Ligustrum). Most members of the family have hollow stems and this feature can be found in Winter Blooming Jasmine as well.
Winter Blooming Jasmine is not common here and it should be, it has bright flowers during the darkest months of the year. The flowers are frost tolerant and are not damaged or rot from cold snaps. They also stand up well to the huge amount of rain which we get at this time of year, this may be due to the fact that they are small simple flowers which do not weigh down from excess water.
Jasminium nudiflorum is usually seen as a vine but it really is a very lax growing shrub. In the winter when the leaves are gone it still is one of the greenest shrubs around. As a shrub is a slender and delicate looking plant which is often propped up against a structure such as a wall or tree trunk. As seen in the above photo, Jasmine are excellent trellis plants.
Winter Flowering jasmine are easy to grow and should be seen more in gardens today. It is a very adaptable shrub which tolerate full sun to dappled shade and will still bloom well. It is not to fussy about it’s soil and can be planted in poor soils as long as they are drained well enough. This is a plant which has the added advantage of being somewhat drought tolerant. It is easy to transplant and takes a trimming very well as long as its done soon after flowering is over.
I think that sometimes people mistake this shrub for the dreaded ‘Broom’ which is a scourge on the land around here. They both have twiggy green stems and yellow flowers. Fear not, Winter Blooming Jasmine is a well behaved plant which will not seed everywhere or spread to areas and over run native plants. Jasminum nudiflorum can be used as winter color or winter feature, growing over retaining walls or slopes, a spreading or sprawling shrub, on a trellis or leaning up a tree or other less appealing structure.
Winter Blooming Jasmine is rated at zones 6 through 9 and tolerated temperature of -15c( 5f). It can grow to 3m(10ft) tall and wide when allowed to sprawl on the ground.
Links to Love about Jasminum nudiflorum:
Floridata always offers good information about plants: http://www.floridata.com/ref/j/jasm_nud.cfm
A good detailed information page on this plant: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=7.775.100
About the Olive family and it’s members: http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs300/olea.htm
Until we meet again later on….