Philippines National Flower – Jasminum sambac

The National Flower of the Philippines – Sampaguita. A small white flower with a colourful history.

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Botanical Name Jasminum sambac
(English) Common Name Arabian Jasmine
Asian Jasmine
Asiatic Jasmine
Sacred Jasmine
Sambac Jasmine
(Indonesia) Common Name Melati
(Filipino) Common Name Sampaguita

Sampaguita is the National Flower of the Philippines, adopted on 1934. It is made into leis/garland and used as fragrant decoration in automobiles, for guests, ceremonies, and as an offering in religious gatherings. It is also use as a perfume and a flavor – jasmine tea. There are three types of Sampaguita in the Philippines – the five-petaled called as “Maid of Orleans”, the double petals as “Belle of India”, and the “Grand Duke of Tuscany” with rose-like appearance.

There are also legends surrounding Sampaguita, the most popular is about Lakambini and Lakam Galing. Lakam Galing is a warrior, and before he went into battle, they pledge their love for each other by saying “Sumpa kita” (roughly in English as “(I) Oath (myself to) You”). Lakam Galing died, and Lakambini mourned his death till her death. Soon, white flowers grew on her grave symbolizing her loyalty, love, and purity (of heart).

Trivia: Did you know… It was an American, Governor-General Frank Murphy that announced Sampguita as the Philippines National Flower? Now you know!

There is also a Japanese anime game entitled “Sampaguita” which is available on Sony Playstation. The elders also tell their grand children how they use Sampaguita to treat their wounds and bites especially during wars and when the country is heavily forested. Sampguita blooms all year round in the Philippines but with a life of only almost 24 hours. The next day, new Sampaguita flowers bloom and scents the environment, signalling a new and fresh day for the Filipino people.

* Photo from by David Stang. Copyright 2006.

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