Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Murraya paniculata - the Mock Orange or Orange Jasmine

This evergreen rounded shrub with its rich glossy green foliage is such a familiar sight in gardens here.  It is most often used as hedging ... but in my garden these shrubs stand alone in the outdoor garden beds.I have several that are rapidly turning into very tall shrubs and a couple of the miniature version.


It's commonly called 'Mock Orange' for two reasons really ...Murraya is in the same family as Citrus so when you crush the leaves there is a citrusy smell.  But it also has flowers that look a lot like orange blossoms.

They are gorgeous little creamy white flowers, but it is the sweet heady scent from these blooms that is the real feature of this shrub and makes it such a fantastic choice for a tropical garden.



The scent fills the air from late spring right through summer when this shrub is covered in these highly perfumed white flowers.  It's a highlight of my day when I'm sitting on the verandah and the scent wafts up from the garden bed below.  This photo shows one of the miniature Murrayas in amongst a bed of pentas.


Another of this shrub's fantastic features is that it will literally grow anywhere ... full sun, shade, in almost any soil type and it will tolerate drought, humidity as well as torrential rain.  However, that is also it's big drawback ... it can become widespread very quickly.  It's considered an environmental weed in my region and often pops up all over my property. The flowers are followed by small bright orange-red berries and these are a very attractive snack for birds and they then disperse the seed far and wide.

I haven't as yet pulled out any of the new plants as I'm quite happy to get more of them for free!

12 comments:

  1. I used to have a Mock Orange on a former property and what I remember best about it is that almost sickenly sweet fragrance floating in the windows on balmy nights. I love them!

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  2. Interesting, the mock orange I'm most familiar with is our native shrub here in California, Philadelphus lewisii. Very similar appearing plant though, but your post does highlight the importance of binomal scientific names, as your mock orange and ours apparently aren't even in the same family. Lovely though, and you captured the flowers beautifully.

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  3. G'day Curbstone Valley Farm ... yes common names can be so misleading. I think Choisya ternata is also commonly called Mock Orange ... that's why I always call the plants I have by their botanic name (if I know it!) and the common name. I have seen photos of the Philadelphus and the flowers on that are just beautiful ... from the Hydrangeaceae family I think.

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  4. You have just given me a good idea for my garden! Miniature Murraya... the compact leaves made the blooms look bigger. Nice. I have to watch out for this one in the nurseries. I need something to cover the round yarn mop that my neighbour left on the fence everyday to dry :-(!! Maybe a pot of Murraya raised up high on a wire pedestal will do the trick... still thinking he he...

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  5. G'day Nancybond ... this plant has one of the most delicious fragrances! I've often wondered what it would be like to have a wall of these shrubs around my courtyard!

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  6. Stephanie ... I think one of these would be perfect for hiding that gorgeous mop head! You'll need one of the tall shrubs ... they can grow to 10 feet!

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  7. Hi Bernie, yes I love the Murraya too in my garden. The fragrance is heavenly! The funny thing is I wanted to put in a post to pay tribute to this lovely shrub. You have done such a good post and tribute to this shrub. Do you know there is one with bigger flowers and leaves. It sets seeds too but not as profusely as the one with the smaller flowers.

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  8. Titania ... make sure you do your post ... it's always interesting to see what others think as well. I'd love to see what you write.

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  9. Hi Bernie! I too have this Murraya, which is a native Indian plant. It is called Kamini here. Kamini means a sensuous woman!

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  10. G'day Lotusleaf ... we do seem to have a lot of plants in common. I love the common name you have for this lovely plant ... I suppose it's the perfume that reminds one of a 'sensuous woman'. So interesting!

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  11. I have two of them one in shade and one in full sun and I rarely get so much as one or two flowers. Have read many posts of people having the same problem but no solution.

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    1. My experience of this plant is that they really only flower when they receive rain or watering after a long period of dry. Mine flower as I've said towards late Spring and Summer and that's always towards the end of our long dry season. If I put the sprinkler out in the garden bed, or if there's a shower of rain, the shrubs will burst into bloom a couple of days later. They seem to respond to the rain / watering only after being without moisture for months.

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