APOCYNACEAE- Tabernaemontana


Oleander family

Apocynaceae includes approxi-mately 355 genera of herbs, shrubs, trees, and climbers distributed wordwide, with greatest diversity  in the tropics. Characteristics in-clude a milky latex sap and complex flowers. Recent cevisions include the genera traditionally segregated in to Asclepiadaceae in this family. For the convenience of readers more familiar with this arrange – ment, these species are kept to -gether here as a subgroup of A poc – ynaceae. The family is very important pharmaceutically. Many, though not all, species are. Poison – ous. An exception is Carissa. Most are suitable for coastal. Planting and are at least modestly salt toler-ant. Leaves are simple entire opposite or whorled. Traditional members of Apocynaceae can be recognized by the radially symmet – tical, trumpet-shaped corollar. Commonly with lobes twisted like a propeller. The fruit is a capsule, shizocarp, nutlet, berry or drupe, commonly in pairs.


Tabernaemontana includes approxi-mately 100 species of trees and shrubs, which are widely distrib-uted in the tropics. Ervatamia and Conopharyngia are now included in this genus. Many speciess have rather similar white flowers with lobes twisted like a propeller. Many in cultivation are poorly diffenrenti-ated. The genus name in a Latin translation of Bergzabern, a Ger-man physician. The preferred com-mon name for some fragrant  species is fessamine, in an effort to avoid confusion with true jasmines, fasminum, in a different family, Oleaceae (Morton, 1974). This dis-tinction is important for dandscap-ing because, unlike often weedy or invasive jasmines, this genus is not known to be self -seeding in cultiva-tion. They are also excellent substi- where the soil is alkaline (sweet) and are pest and disease  resistant. Some are somewhat sensitive to cold temperatures and drought shrub forms make excellent hedges and take pruning well.

Tabernaemontana arborea

Wild orange jessamine

Synonyms: Peschiera arborea, T. schippii. Mexico, Guatemala. Ever- green tree, 35 – 50ft. +, zones 10-11 blooms spring. Moderate mois-ture. Average, well – drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: salverform, lobes twisted, white, throat more or less yellowish, in many – flowered clus-ters, not fragrant at least during the day. leaves: oblanceolate, to 6 in long, glossy. potentially large, spreading shade tree of tropical for-ests and streamsides. Unusual in cul-tivation but highly recommended.

Taberanaemontana australis

Pinwheel flower

pinwheel jessamine

Synonym: peschiera australis. Brazil. Evergreen shrub or small tree to 15 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms spring. Moderate moisture in summer, less in winter, Average to fertile, well – drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: salverform, small, fra-grant, petal lobes twisted like a pro-peller, creamy white. Leaves: ovate, 4-6 in, long, glossy dark green. Australis means “southern” alluding to the Southern Hemisphere and does not necessarily indicate an asso-ciation with Autralia.

Tebernaemontana divaricata

Crepe jessamine, Butterfly

Gardenia, ceylon jessamine, pleur damour

Synonyms: Ervatamia coronaria, Nerium divaricatum, T. coronaria. India to northern Thailand and southwestern China. Evergreen shrub to 6 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms intermittently in spring, summer. Regular moisture in summer, less in winter, never dry. Fertile, well-drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: salverform, lobes broadly obo-vate, twisted like a propeller, white, throat yellow, fragrant at night. Leaves: ovate, to 5 in. long, tip acu-minate, margins undulate. Suitable for large containers. Cold – sensitive. Fragrant wood used for incense, resins. Flore Pleno has a double co-rolla. Tabernaemontana corymbosa has pointed petals.

Tabernaemontana pachy-siphon

Giant pinwheel flower

Synonyms: Conopharyngia pachysiphon. T. holstii. Tropical east-ern Africa. Evergreen shrub or tree, 10-40 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms almost all year. Regular moisture, never dry. Fertile, open, well-drained soil. Part sun to bright, fil-tered light. flowers: salverform, tube to 4 in. long, white, lobes twisted, slender, edges ruffled, throat yellow, silky hairs inside, fra-grance sweet, vanilla-like. leaves:elliptic, to 8 in, long, dark green. This large-flowered species has arch-ing, clambering limbs. Blooms sparsely but almost constantly. Mulch well to maintain moisture.

Tabernaemontana panda-caqui

Synonyms: Ervatamia floribunda, T. orientalis. Southeast Asia, Indoma-laysia, Philippines, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Guinea, Australia. Evergreen spreading shrub or small tree to 20 ft, zones 9-11. Blooms summer. Regular moisture in summer, mod-erate in winter. Fertile, well – drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: salverform, white, petal margins fringed, faintly scented, in small clusters, a few flowers opening at a time, capsules ovoid with pointed ends, in pairs, red orange. leaves: ovate to elliptic, 4-8 in. long: margins smooth.



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