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Gardenia is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. Several species occur on Hawai imarker, where gardenias are known as na u or nānū.

The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottishmarker-born American naturalist.

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, long and broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white, or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5-12 lobes (petals) from diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer and many species are strongly scented.

Selected species

Cultivation and uses

Gardenia plants are prized for the strong sweet scent of their flowers, which can be very large in some species.

Gardenia jasminoides (syn. G. grandiflora, G. florida) is cultivated as a house plant. This species can be difficult to grow because it originated in warm humid tropical areas. It demands high humidity to thrive and bright (not direct) light. It flourishes in acidic soils with good drainage and thrives on [68-74 F temperatures (20-23 C)][71284] during the day and 60 F (15-16 C) in the evening. Potting soil developed especially for gardenias are available. G. jasminoides grows no larger than than 18 inches in height and width when grown indoors. In climates where it can be grown outdoors, it can attain a height of 6 feet. If water hits the flowers, they will turn brown.

In Japan and China, Gardenia jasminoides is called Kuchinashi (Japanese) and Zhi zi (Chinese 梔子); the bloom is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

In Francemarker, Gardenia is the traditional flower which men wear as boutonnières.


  1. Reader's Digest. Success with House Plants. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. New York/Montreal. 217

External links

Image:Starr_030523-0050_Gardenia_brighamii.jpg|Gardenia brighamiiImage:White Gardenia flower.jpg|Gardenia jasminoidesImage:Gardenia psidioides flower.jpg|Gardenia psidioidesImage:Gardenia_Flower.jpg|Gardenia jasminoides, var. radicansImage:Tiare_maori.JPG|Gardenia taitensisImage:Gardenia thunbergia00.jpg|
Gardenia thunbergia by Edith Struben (1868-1936)

See also

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