Orange Jessamine is a small, tropical, evergreen tree or shrub growing up to 7 m tall. The plant flowers throughout the year. Its leaves are glabrous and glossy, occurring in 3-7 oddly pinnate leaflets which are elliptic to cuneate-obovate to rhombic. Flowers are terminal, corymbose, few-flowered, dense and fragrant. Petals are 12–18 mm long, recurved and white (or fading cream). The fruit of Murraya paniculata is fleshy, oblong-ovoid, coloured red to orange, and grows up to 1 inch in length.
Orange jasmine's Behavior & Ecology
Habitat - Thickets, montane forests; at elevations from near sea level to 1,300 metres.
Orange jasmine's Reproduction
Propagation-The Orange Jessamine is sexually propagated by its seeds. The fruits are eaten by birds, who then pass the seeds out in their stool. It may also be asexually propagated by softwood cuttings.
Orange jasmine's Relationship with Humans
Edible Uses - The flowers are used for scenting tea. The leaves are used to flavour curries.
Medicinal Uses - Orange jessamine (murraya paniculata) is a commonly used traditional medicine through most of its native range. A mildly bitter-minty tasting plant, it is warming in effect. It is considered to be analgesic, to activate blood circulation and relieve contusions. There has been some research into the medicinal properties of the plant, and several medicinally active compounds have been isolated. The leaves contain 0.01% of an essential oil with cadinene and sesquiterpene. They also contain coumarins. The flowers also contain essential oil; the glucosides murrayin and scopolin; murrayetin, and indol. In one study, coumarins isolated from the leaves were shown to be active in the platelet aggregation assay. In a study of the anti-amoebic activity of some medicinal plants used by AIDS patients in southern Thailand, this species was classified as 'moderately active' against Entamoeba histolitica. The leaves are astringent, stimulant and tonic. They are used in the treatment of dropsy, diarrhoea and dysentery. A decoction of the leaves is used as mouthwash for toothaches. The powdered leaves are applied externally to fresh cuts. A poultice of the fresh leaves is used to treat swellings due to sprain and contusions; poisonous snake bites. The bark of the stems and roots is astringent. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The ground-up bark of the roots is both eaten and applied externally in the treatment of body aches. The flowers are stomachic and tonic.
Agroforestry Uses - The plant is grown as a living fence to protect vegetable gardens. It responds well to trimming and can be used as a small hedge which can be limited to as little as 60 - 90cm in height.
Other Uses - An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. It is used in perfumery. The flowers are used in the production of cosmetics. The wood and the roots are ground into a sweet-scented powder, known as 'Thanaka Powder', that is used as a cosmetic on the cheeks of women. The tree is often too small for its wood to be commercially exploited, but the yellow heartwood obtained from larger specimens is highly valued. The wood, even from smaller trees, is used locally to make tool handles, walking sticks, furniture or used for turning.