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Murraya paniculata, commonly called orange jessamine or Chinese box is a tropical evergreen plant with small, white sweet scented flowers. It is native to southern China, the Indian sub-continent, south-eastern Asia and northern Australia. Murraya paniculata is grown as an ornamental tree or a hedge. It is closely related to citrus.

Murraya paniculata is a shrub growing up to about 6 m tall. The plant starts flowering in mid summer in Sydney.

A tall old tree of orange jessamine
A tall old tree of Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine)

Flowers are terminal and grouped together into corymb (an inflorescence which appears to be flat-topped). The flower is made up of 5 green sepals, 5 white free petals, 10 stamens in two whorls and a pistil.

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5 white free petals, 10 stamens and a large stigma in the centre. Petals are 20 – 30 mm long, white and recurved.

 

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10 stamens of two different heights surrounding the pistil (stigma and style)
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The stigma (top part) and the style
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The ovary is longitudinally cut open to show the two carpels. Each carpel has 2 ovules.
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The ovary is transversely cut open to show the two carpels. Each carpel shows one ovule.

 

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The middle darker green cylindrical structure is the nectary which produces and  stores nectar. It also gives rise to the sweet scent. (Some sepals have been removed to show the nectary.)

Murraya paniculata is grown in honey bee farms. The flowers attract bees. The nectar and pollen grains serve as food for the honey bee. The plant also serves as wind break. The honey produced has a tangy sweet orange undertone.

A honey bee is attracted to the flowers
A honey bee is attracted to the flowers

Murraya paniculata is cultured as an ornamental tree or hedge because of its hardiness, tolerant to a wide of pH range of soil and the plant is evergreen and can be pruned easily.

 

 

A hedge made up of orange jessamine
The hedge along a foot path is made up of Murraya paniculata

 

The bark of an old branch
The bark of an old branch

 

Traditionally, Murraya paniculata is used both in traditional medicine as an analgesic and for timber (eg for tool handles).

 

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murraya_paniculata

http://berniesgarden.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/murraya-paniculata-mock-orange-or.html

 

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