The peacock jasmine plant, called pikake in Hawaiian, is a type of ornamental jasmine originally from India. The peacock jasmine’s scientific name is Jasminum sambac, and it’s a member of the olive family. This plant comes in several varieties, largely distinguished by their flower type. This flower is grown commercially for use in leis, as a flavoring agent for tea, and as a landscape and garden flower.
The simplest type of Hawaiian peacock jasmine produces a single white flower with oval petals. According to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the flower is about three quarters of an inch to 1¼ inches across. This type of peacock jasmine is commercially grown on large farms in Hawaii, where it’s used to make leis for the tourist trade. Single-flower peacock jasmine plants flower from March to September.
Semi-double varieties of peacock jasmine have more elongated petals, but are not suitable for lei-making. Unlike the stems of single-flower jasmine, semi-double flower stems cannot be pushed into the bud to make a more attractive lei. This type of flower is best suited for use as an ornamental or cooking ingredient. Like the single-flower variety, semi-double-flowering peacock jasmine plants have a long flowering season.
Double-flower peacock jasmine is also called the rose pikake. This variety has rounded petals and looks a little like a rose flower. Unlike single or semi-double varieties, rose pikake produces relatively few flowers per plant, though those flowers are more impressive-looking than those of its simpler relatives. Peak flowering time for this variety is between April and August, with most flowers produced at the start of the season.
Multi-whorled peacock jasmine plants produce a tightly packed flower full of petals. This flower can look like a small white carnation. Like the rose pikake, this plant produces fewer of its complicated flowers and has a shorter flowering season than single or semi-double varieties.