Botanical name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis | Hindi: हरसिंगार | Marathi: पारिजात | English: Night jasmine

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis


The Night Jasmine, also known as Parijat or Harsingar, is a deciduous, medium-sized tree native to South and Southeast Asia. Reaching up to 10-20 meters tall, it boasts a dense, spreading canopy of pinnate leaves, each with 5-7 glossy, green leaflets. The most captivating feature arrives at dusk, as fragrant, white flowers unfurl in clusters. These tubular blossoms, measuring 5-7 cm long, boast five petals and emit an intoxicatingly sweet fragrance that fills the night air. After their brief glory, the flowers fall, leaving behind heart-shaped pods containing winged seeds.

Interesting Facts

Medicine and Wellness
Medicinal Uses:  While not widely recognized in modern medicine, traditional practices utilize various parts of the Night Jasmine for their potential benefits. The bark and leaves are believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, used for wound healing, skin disorders, and digestive issues. The flowers are traditionally used to treat coughs, colds, and fever. The seeds are said to have anti-diabetic properties. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using any part of the Night Jasmine for medicinal purposes as research on its effectiveness remains limited.
Culture and Belief
Culture & Tradition: The Night Jasmine holds deep cultural significance across various regions. In India, it is associated with Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, often planted near temples and offered during religious ceremonies. Its name “Parijat” originates from the Sanskrit word for “fallen from heaven,” reflecting its celestial beauty and fragrance. In Southeast Asia, the flower symbolizes love, purity, and good luck. It features prominently in wedding ceremonies and cultural celebrations.
Bees, Butterflies, Birds: 3Bs of healthy environment.
Environmental Impact: Beyond its cultural significance, the Night Jasmine contributes to a healthier environment. Its dense foliage provides shade and shelter for birds and insects. The deep root system helps prevent soil erosion and promotes soil health. Additionally, the tree attracts pollinators, contributing to the overall biodiversity of its ecosystem. Its fragrant flowers even attract bats, which help disperse seeds and contribute to the regeneration of forests.

Anandvan Trivia Quiz

Question 1: Why is Parijat called “The tree of sadness”?

Answer: Although the name “tree of sadness” might seem contradictory, it likely originates from the association of the Night Jasmine with Lord Shiva’s lament after losing his wife Sati. However, this interpretation is disputed, and the name might also simply refer to the temporary beauty of the flowers that bloom at night and fall before dawn.

Question 2: What is unique about the use of the flowers as a prayer offering?

Answer: The unique aspect lies in the timing of the offering. Unlike most flowers offered during daytime prayers, the Night Jasmine blossoms at dusk, coinciding with the time of meditation and reflection for many cultures. This symbolism of offering something most beautiful at its peak further adds to its significance in religious rituals.

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