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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Oleaceae
Tribus: Myxopyreae
Genus: Nyctanthes
Species: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L., 1753.


Parilium arbor-tristis (L.) Gaertn., Fruct. Sem. Pl. 1: 234. t. 51. f. 1. 1788.


Bruschia macrocarpa Bertol., Mem. Acad. Sc. Bologna 8: 238 (Misc. Bot. 18: 17). 1857.
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis var. dentata (Blume) Moldenke
Nyctanthes dentata Blume, Mus. Bot. 1(18): 282. 1851.
Nyctanthes tristis Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton 11. 1796.
Scabrita scabra L., Syst. Nat., ed. 12. 2: 115. 1767.
Scabrita triflora L., Mant. Pl. 37. 1767.


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 6.
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Nacht-Jasmin, Trauerbaum
English: Coral jasmine, lady of the night, night jasmine, tree of sadness
suomi: Neidonjasmiini
हिन्दी: पारिजातक
मराठी: प्राजक्त, पारिजातक
svenska: Sorgjasmin
తెలుగు: పారిజాతం
ไทย: กรรณิการ์


Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Night-flowering Jasmine) is a species of Nyctanthes, native to southern Asia, from northern Pakistan and Nepal south through northern India and southeast to Thailand.[1][2][3]

It is a shrub or a small tree growing to 10 m tall, with flaky grey bark. The leaves are opposite, simple, 6–12 cm long and 2–6.5 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla with an orange-red centre; they are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk and finishing at dawn. The fruit is a flat brown heart-shaped to round capsule 2 cm diameter, with two sections each containing a single seed.[2][3]

Names and symbolism

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (sometimes incorrectly cited as Nyctanthes arbortristis or Nyctanthes arbor tristis) is commonly known as

* Night-flowering Jasmine
* Coral Jasmine
* Parijat (also spelled Paarijat or Paarijaata [4])
* Harsingar [4]
* Shephalika,Parijatha, Parijataka, Ragapushpi, Kharapatraka, Prajakta

Nalakumkumaka, Harshingarapushpak, Suklangi, Rajanihasa, Malika, Aparajitha, Vijaya, Nisahasa, Praharshini, Pravalanalika, Vathari, bhoothakeshi, Seetamanjari, Subaha, Nishipushpika (in Sanskrit)

* Shiuli/Sefali (in Bengali)
* Pavazha malli in Tamil (Also spelled pavaza malli or pavala malli)
* Prajakta or Prajakt in Sanskrit
* Ganga Shiuli in Odisha

The tree is sometimes called the "tree of sorrow", because the flowers lose their brightness during daytime; the scientific name arbor-tristis also means "sad tree". The flowers can be used as a source of yellow dye for clothing. The flower is the official flower of the state of West Bengal, India, and for Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand.

Medicinal use of Parijata

The natives of Chhattisgarh are aware of medicinal uses of all parts of Parijat. They use the seeds in treatment of Bavasir (Piles). Daily one seed with water is recommended as treatment. This treatment is continued up to complete cure. The seeds are crushed and aqueous paste is prepared. The patients suffering from piles are advised by the natives to apply fresh paste externally on piles, along with the internal use of seeds. This treatment is simple and very effective. In treatment of gout, the natives use the decoction of Parijat flowers. This decoction is given up to one week during the time of attack. As treatment, it is given up to one month in a year. The natives of Sarguja region use the leaves of Parijat in many ways. In treatment of dry cough, the leaf juice with Shahad (Honey) is given internally. The aqueous paste of leaves is used externally in treatment of skin related troubles specifically in treatment of ring worm. The natives of Bastar region, prepare a special herbal oil by boiling fresh leaves in Sarson (Mustard) oil and use it externally in treatment of same troubles. The natives of Chhattisgarh Plains, use the leaf juice with Namak (Common salt) in treatment of intestinal worms. According to them, seven regular doses (once in a day) can flush out all the worms effectively. The young leaves of Parijat are used as female tonic. The patients having gynaecological troubles are advised to take three fresh leaves of Parijat with 5 Black Pipper (Kali Mirch). This combination is recommended up to three days in a month. According to the natives using this combination, this is a boon for the patients at initial stages. In case of complications, the natives consult the traditional healers. The natives of Bagbahera region, use the decoction of Parijat seeds as hair tonic and wash the hairs daily in order to get rid from dandruff and lice. The natives of Durg region specifically from Patan region, informed me that leaf juice is a safe purgative for infants. They also use it in combination with other herbs in treatment of chronic fevers.

This is positive sign that the natives having rich traditional medicinal knowledge about Parijat are still using this herb as medicine and planting this herb in their home gardens. By this act, they are transferring and making aware the upcoming generation about the valuable medicinal properties and uses of Parijat.

Krishna Uproots the Parijata Tree, Folio from Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of the Lord), 1525-1550 Painting

Parijat appears in several Hindu myths. In one myth, which appears in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, Parijat appeared as the result of the Samudra manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean). In another myth, Parijat was brought to earth by Krishna from Indra's garden.[4]

In Hindu mythology, there is a story involving Lord Krishna about a parijat and Krishna's two wives, Satyabhama and Rukmini. Satyabhama wanted this "Parijat" tree from the Heaven to be planted in her garden. Rukmini too, took a fancy to the flower. Krishna, wanting to keep both his wives happy, planted this tree so that the flowers fell in Rukmini’s garden while the tree remained in Satyabhama’s garden.

The tree was planted in the garden of Indra, the Lord of Heavens. Even as Krishna stole a branch of the tree he was spotted by Indra. However, Indra desisted from placing a curse on Krishna since he was an incarnation of Vishnu. Still, Indra put forth a curse on the stolen branch that it will never bear fruit even though the flowers may bloom on the tree. Since the day the tree was planted at Barabanki (the wives' garden), it flowers but does not reproduce, because it has no seeds and the branch cannot take root.

Not only the tree has high medicinal values in Ayurveda and is divine to Hindus, but also has its share of stories of its romantic origin. According to Hindu mythology, Parijathaka a princess was in love with sun and failed to win his heart,even after trying a lot. So She committed suicide and from her ashes rose the tree parijatha. Unable to stand the sight of her love, she blooms only during night and sheds all the flowers(resembling tears) before the sun rises or with the touch of very first sun rays. The highly fragrant flowers bloom during night spreading there essence all to the surroundings. The courtyards filled with these flowers in the very morning is a bliss to eyes and their aroma arises your spirit. These are apparently only flowers that Hindus offer to GOD picked from the ground instead of plucking from the tree.


The seeds, flowers and leaves possesses immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities.[5]

The leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat sciatica, arthritis, fevers, various painful conditions and as laxative.[6]

Chemical Constituents

Leaves: D-mannitol, β-sitosterole, Flavanol glycosides- Astragaline, Nicotiflorin, Oleanolic acid, Nyctanthic acid, tannic acid, ascorbic acid, methyl salicylate, an amorphous glycoside An amorphous resin, trace of volatile oil, carotene, friedeline, lupeol, , mannitol, Glucose and fructose, iridoid glycosides, benzoic acid.

Flowers: Essential oil, nyctanthin, d-mannitol, tannin and glucose, carotenoid, glycosides Viz β-monogentiobioside ester of α - crocetin (or crocin-3), β-monogentiobioside -β-D monoglucoside ester of α-crocetin, β-digentiobioside ester of α-crocetin (or crocin-1).

Seeds: Arbortristoside A&B, Glycerides of linoleic oleic, lignoceric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids, nyctanthic acid, 3-4 secotriterpene acid, A water soluble polysaccharide composed of D-glucose and D mannose.

Bark: Glycosides and alkaloids.

Stem: Glycoside-naringenin-4’-0-β-glucapyranosyl-α-xylopyranoside and β-sitosterol.

Flower oil: α-pinene, p-cymene, 1- hexanol methyl heptanone, phenyl acetaldehyde, 1-deconol and anisaldehyde.

Plant: 2,3,4,6-tetra-0-methyl-D-glucose, 2,3,6 tri-0-methyl-D-glucose, 2,3,6-tri-0-methyl-D-mannose, 2,3,-di-0-methyl-d-mannose, arbortristoside A,B,C and iridoid glycoside

Parijat (Writer)

Parijat was also the name adopted by the famous Nepali writer Bishnu Kumari Waiba, whose most acclaimed publication was Siris ko Phul(The Blue Memosa)which has also been adapted in the literature curriculum of some colleges in English speaking countries. She wrote short stories, novels, story collection and memoir essays. Her name remains immortal in South Asian literature.


1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
2. ^ a b Flora of Pakistan: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
3. ^ a b AgroForestry Tree Database: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
4. ^ a b c Our Tree Neighbours, by Chakravarti Venkatesh, 1976
5. ^ Puri A, Saxena R, Saxena RP, Saxena KC, Srivastava V, Tandon JS (March 1994). "Immunostimulant activity of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L". J Ethnopharmacol 42 (1): 31–7. PMID 8046941.
6. ^ Saxena RS, Gupta B, Lata S (August 2002). "Tranquilizing, antihistaminic and purgative activity of Nyctanthes arbor tristis leaf extract". J Ethnopharmacol 81 (3): 321–5. PMID 12127232.

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