Botanical name: Jasminum multiflorum Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)
Synonyms: Jasminum pubescens
Star jasmine can be thought of as an evergreen, branching vine that can be trained as a shrub, or as a spreading, vine-like shrub. It is usually seen as an open, spreading, weeping (with hanging branches) mound, 3-10 ft tall and just as wide. The stems and leaves are covered with a downy pubescence (micro hair) that gives the plant an overall grayish-green appearance. The leaves are ovate and rounded at the base, up to 2 in long, and opposite each other on the stem. Known by the name Kundo, star jasmine is very popular in Manipur. It has very beautiful single-flowered, white blooms, which have no fragrance. The beauty of the flower more than makes up for lack of fragrance. In Indian mythology, star jasmine, or Kunda, is known for its whiteness. So, instead of the common western phrase 'white as snow', what often appears in Hindu mythological stories is 'white as kunda'. Flowers appear in bunches, almost throughout the year, and even the buds look beautiful. In Manipur, Kundo flowers are used in worship, and are an essential part of a marriage ceremony. The bride garlands the groom with two Kundo flower garlands. The groom then takes one of the two and garlands the bride.
Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh
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