Gardenia — Gardenia is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania.
The genus was named by Carolus Linnaeus after Dr Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Scottish-born American naturalist.
They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1-15 m tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, 5-50 cm long and 3-25 cm broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5-12 lobes (‘petals’) from 5-12 cm diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer and many species are strongly scented.