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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
Flower & flower buds I IMG 2257.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Nyctanthes
Species: N. arbor-tristis
Binomial name
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Night-flowering Jasmine) is a species of Nyctanthes, native to southern Asia, from northern Pakistan, and Nepal south through northern India, Bangladesh 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

Fruit of the Parijat plant (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis), Kolkata, India - 20070130

Fruit in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

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

Sewali pronounced as Hkhewali in Assamese 'Shefali (শেফালী) or Shiuli (শিউলি) in Bengali. Official State flower of West Bengal.

  • 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)

  • Paarijaat(ಪಾರಿಜಾತ) or Goli (ಗೋಳಿ) in Kannada
  • Pavazha malli in Tamil (Also spelled pavaza malli or pavala malli)
  • Prajakta or Prajakt in Sanskrit
  • Pagadamalle in telugu
  • සේපාලිකා in Sinhala
  • Shephali/Shefali (ଶେଫାଳି) or Ganga Shiuli (ଗଙ୍ଗ ଶିଉଳି) in Oriya
Ong Gangasiuli Basudeba temple Bhubaneswar

A flower decoration by Sefali flower (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) in Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Bhubaneswar premises.

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.


Parijat, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, appears in several Hindu myths and is often related to the Kalpavriksha. 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).


Extracts of the seeds, flowers and leaves possesses immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities in vitro.[5]

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

Chemical constituents


Leaves of the Parijat plant (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis), Kolkata, India - 20070130

Leaves in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


The leaves contain D-mannitol, β-sitosterol, flavanol glycosides, astragalin, 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, fructose, iridoid glycosides, and benzoic acid.


The flowers contain essential oils, nyctanthin, D-mannitol, tannins, glucose, carotenoids, glycosides including β-monogentiobioside ester of α-crocetin (or crocin-3), β-monogentiobioside-β-D monoglucoside ester of α-crocetin, and β-digentiobioside ester of α-crocetin (or crocin-1).


The seeds contain arbortristosides A and B; glycerides of linoleic, oleic, lignoceric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids; nyctanthic acid; 3,4-secotriterpene acid; and a water soluble polysaccharide composed of D-glucose and D-mannose.


The bark contains glycosides and alkaloids.


The stems contain the glycoside naringenin-4’-0-β-glucapyranosyl-α-xylopyranoside and β-sitosterol.

Flower oil

The flower oil contains α-pinene, p-cymene, 1-hexanol, methylheptanone, phenyl acetaldehyde, 1-decenol and anisaldehyde.


The plant contains 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; arbortristosides A, B, and C; and iridoid glycosides.

Biological activity


Antibacterial, Anthelmintic, Anti-inflammatory, Hepatoprotective, Immunopotential, Anti pyretic, Antioxidant and Anti fungal.

Its new leaves are fried and used as a recipe in Assamse food.


Diuretic, Anti-bilious, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Sedative and Antifilarial.

Its dried flowers are used as components of recipe in Assamse food.


Antibacterial, Antifungal, Immunomodulatory and Antileishmanial.




Antipyretic and Antioxidant.

Flower oil

as perfume



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