Friday, June 23, 2017


                Upon arrival at Santa Chiara we met in the courtyard for snacks after a long morning of travels. We were welcomed with the vibrant smell of the jasmine that was clinging to the walls of the courtyard. During our walking tour of the town I noticed that this jasmine was everywhere; one of my favorite places I found this vine growing was over a wall and doorway in one of the alleyways here in Castiglion Fiorentino. 

                 During our lectures with Dr. Starman later that week we learned that this vine was known as the Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and that it is native to eastern and southeastern Asia. This plant is grown all over Italy and used as a wall or ground cover and can be trained over arches or entryways, it can also be grown in full sun or full shade. Dr. Starman also informed us that the flowers from this vine produce very fragrant oil that is used in perfumes.
                 After doing some research on my own I learned that the oils from the flower are used not only for perfumes but also in some Asian incenses, as a healing herb and in teas. The herb is believed to cure abscesses, high blood pressure, muscle cramps, sore throat, Rheumatoid arthritis and many other things.
                 What I really found interesting was that the star jasmine grows very well in Texas, especially south Texas. The jasmine does so well in Texas because it is drought tolerant, is suitable for container growth, and does well in the sun or shade. South Texas provides adequate because it has similar climate and growing conditions to that of the Tuscany region in Italy.

--Erika Johnson

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