The jasmine or sampaguita, also spelled sampagita and scientifically known as Jasminum sambac, is a popular plant because of the pleasing fragrance that its flowers emit. This fragrance is due to the presence of an essential oil.
Essential oils are mixtures of substances that contain the essence, or odor, of the plant. They are extracted from flowers and other plant parts and used in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics. The principal volatile constituent of an essential oil usually belongs to a family of chemical compounds called terpenes.
The propagation of sampagita is by semi hardwood stem cuttings, layering, or division of the crown. But about 5 years ago, we found that it can also be propagated using leaf cuttings.
It was not by intention that we used leaf cuttings. We were unaware of the applicability of the method to this ornamental plant. It happened in one of our laboratory activities in relation to plant propagation and nursery management.
Experimentation was encouraged, knowing that there are still many plants in which the applicable methods of propagation still wait to be discovered. Despite the given list of plants that can be propagated by leaf cuttings such as Sansevieria, Begonia, African violet, Hoya, Oxalis, and one called plastic plant, somebody used entire leaves of sampagita. The basal portions of freshly detached leaves of the plant were inserted into potted soil and given care under shade.
The first indication that the leaves of sampagita will possibly be an effective propagule, or planting material, is that they did not wilt. They remained green, even though the rooting medium occasionally dried up and our nursery is located in a place (MSU, General Santos City) with a dry climate.
About 4 months later at the end of the activity, we removed some leaves from the plastic bags and found that they have rooted.
The rest were left piled on the ground and for months they received water only from rain. Will new shoots develop? Expectedly yes. The process of regeneration of plant organs from leaf cuttings always starts with the development of roots followed by the shoot.
Then, finally, the certainty: small sampaguita plants started growing.
(Ben G. Bareja May 2011)