Sunday, 2 November 2014

Jasminum multipartitum

Common names: 

English:         Starry wild jasmine
Zulu:             Imfohlafohlane
German:       Jasmin

Close up of the flower of Jasminum multipartitum

Jasminum multipartitum belongs to the plant family Oleaceae which has a number of members that are economically significant such as the olive (Olea europaea) which is important for its production of fruit as well as for the olive oil extracted from them. The ash  tree (Fraxinus) produces hard tough timber.
Forsythias, lilacs, jasmines and privets, are valued as ornamental plants in gardens and for landscaping.
Species of jasmine are the source of an essential oil. Their flowers are often added to tea.


Jasminum multipartitum has a relatively small distribution being found only in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
In South Africa Jasminum multipartitum is found in the Eastern Cape, the drier parts of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in the bushveld areas of Limpopo, northern Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Natural Habitat

Jasminum multipartitum is found growing naturally on rocky slopes, in woodland and in bushy scrub in a variety of soils both in full sun as well as in semi-shade.


Jasminum multipartitum is a scrambling, evergreen shrub with bright green, shiny leaves which produces masses of large white waxy, scented, star-shaped flowers after the first spring rain. The flowers have a delicate perfume during the day that becomes markedly stronger in the evening and at night. The flower buds are pink or tinted red.
The fruit consists of shiny bluish black twin berries. There is usually one quite large seed in each berry, the dark, plum-coloured flesh is very juicy.

Jasminum multipartitum

Ecological significance

The flowers of Jasminum multipartitum attract insects in particular Hawk moths which pollinate them.
The berries are eaten by birds and by people. Jasminum multipartitum are heavily browsed by game, indigenous goats and indigenous sheep.
The larvae of the Cambridge Vagrant Butterfly, the Variable Prince Moth, Oleander Hawk Moth, Death's Head Hawk Moth, and King Monkey Moth feed on Jasminum species.

Cultural uses

Jasminum multipartitum is used traditionally as a love charm.

Other uses

Jasminum multipartitum could be used to make a herbal tea, fragrance baths and pot-pourri. The foreign species of Jasmine are important for their horticultural value as lovely well-known ornamentals and popular garden plants so there is every reason to grow Jasminum multipartitum in South African gardens. Sprigs of this jasmine are delightful in flower arrangements as the buds open after they are picked and their scent pervades the house.

Growing Jasminum multipartitum

Jasminum multipartitum is a shrub or weak scrambler that will grow in a variety of soils even in very dry locations but will do best if it is supplied with plenty of well-rooted organic material and a little fertiliser.
If encouraged Jasminum multipartitum will climb up to 3 m, although not very strongly, and is best used as a shrub of up to 1.5 m high. Jasminum multipartitum is medium to fast growing.
Jasminum multipartitum flowers best when growing in the full sun in particular in years following a long dry winter so do not over water it.
Jasminum multipartitum is able to withstand some frost but in colder areas it will need a protected corner, generally it does best in regions that have milder winters. Once established, it is fairly drought tolerant.
Jasminum multipartitum takes well to pruning, either to shape it as desired, or to curb excessive growth. This is best done after flowering to encourage thick, compact growth.


Jasminum multipartitum is easy to propagate by layering which is an easy and successful option, from seed and from semi-hardwood cuttings made in spring and summer when plants are actively growing. Cuttings do best placed under mist with bottom heat.

 Jasminum multipartitum growing on a hot dry bank in shale at Mount Moreland


Jasminum multipartitum is a delightful shrub, or weak climber which can be trained onto a trellis or fence, or even shaped into a hedge or screen, this species of jasmine is also an extremely successful container plant, which is attractive even without flowers. No frost free South African landscape or garden should be without this gem of a plant.

Although there are 10 indigenous Jasmine species in South Africa, many of which rival or exceed the exotic species for showiness and ease of cultivation, like most of our South African plants species they are seldom appreciated or grown here.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist

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