Mondokaki is scientifically named in Latin as Tabernaemontana divaricata. Internationally in English this plant is popular with the names pinwheel flower, crape jasmine, East India rosebay, and Nero's crown.
In Indonesia, this plant has many regional names. Among them are wari flowers in Java, nyuhnyuh flowers in Bali, nyingin flowers in Nusa Tenggara, butter flowers, milk flowers, manila flowers or susong flowers in Maluku.
The genus name Tabernaemontana is taken from the name of the German herbalist Jakob Theodor von Bergzaben (1520 - 1590) (the family name in Latin Tabernaemontanus means "tavern on the mountain"). Meanwhile, the species name divaricata means widespread or divaricate (NParks | Tabernaemontana Divaricata, 2023).
Crape jasmine is believed to originate from the Asian region which includes India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
From Asia, this plant was then introduced to various other areas in Africa, Oceania and the New World. According to a report, the process of its introduction in the Caribbean and the United States began in the early 1900s, in Central and South America since the 1920s and in Oceania since the 1940s. It is also stated in the report that its cultivation spreads vegetatively through its use as an ornamental plant (Vélez-Gavilán, 2022).
Shape Description and Growth
Crape jasmine can grow to a height of up to 2 meters. This plant has the main characteristic of fragrant white flowers consisting of 5 petals with a slender and long shape that grows in a circular position resembling a pinwheel.
The leaves are shiny green with an oval shape and wavy edges. Each of its leaves can grow up to 15 cm long and 5 cm wide.
The stem is smooth and the fruit contains several seeds covered by red arils.
Uses and Benefits of Crape Jasmine for Health
The roots, leaves, and flowers are used as ingredients in traditional medicine in China to treat snake and scorpion poison (NParks | Tabernaemontana Divaricata, 2023). Crape jasmine has been widely reported to contain many alkaloid compounds. In traditional medicine in Thailand, crape jasmine has been used as a component of rejuvenating and neuro-tonic medicine. This treatment is believed to prevent forgetfulness and improve memory. In various other traditional treatments, crape jasmine is also believed to have anti-epileptic, anti-mania, brain tonic and anti-oxidant benefits. Based on research conducted by Chanchal et al. (2015) crape jasmine through ethanol extract of its leaves has been proven to reduce symptoms of obsessive and compulsive disorder or OCD and produce anti-anxiety effects.
The woody stems are used for charcoal as incense and perfume, the pulp is used as a natural dye while the white flowers are used as decoration by women and as bouquets for religious purposes (Vélez-Gavilán, 2022).