I'm looking for plants with a perfume I told the guy working at a little nursery discovered on a jaunt out of town. He showed me a couple of plants, unlabeled of course and not one of us was proficient enough in the other's language, we tried English, Malay and Mandarin, to figure out what the other was saying. Thankfully one of them has tiny little flower buds, which on crushing reveal a delicate scent. The other has large leaves and he gestures with his hands that the flowers are spidery - ah, perhaps one of these. Sold.

The little buds have opened and have a sweet Jasmine scent. The plant itself is woody and shrub like so I try those keywords in google 'jasmine + shrub'. Bingo. It's Murraya Paniculata  a distant cousin of the Citrus family also known as Orange Jessamine. It's also native to these parts with the local name Kemuning.

We have a small Gardenia Jasminoides tree already in our yard also known as Cape Jessamine or it's local name Melur Cina which translates to Chinese Jasmine. This too has a wonderful scent, I often cut some to put in my bedroom. Where the Orange Jessamine is not familiar, this Cape Jessamine is deeply so, a familiar sight in many a backyard of my youth. It's popularity owed perhaps because of its manageable small tree status with glossy leaves and seemingly perpetual blooms.

The flowers don't seem to last long though, there is a lovely tight green bud, then it is best when just opened as pictured left, then dishevels fairly rapidly. I notice that there is also a fair amount of  yellow leaves on our tree and wonder if  the soil might need a little ph adjustment to its preferred acidity. The Orange Jessamine on the other hand has more stamina. I can see why its tight woody habit would make a good hedge hence it's other name Chinese Box.

The leaves of 'the other' plant do look very much like Michelia Champaca leaves, which I am psyched about and the quest continues for more additions to my collection of perfume plants.

Update: A cutting from the Gardenia jasminoides and the Jessamine now reside in the White Corner of my garden.


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