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Gardenia nitida (glossy-leaved gardenia)

Native to west tropical Africa, Gardenia nitida is a small tree or undershrub with woody fruits and strongly-scented flowers.
Flowering Gardenia nitida

Flowering Gardenia nitida

Species information

Scientific name: 

Gardenia nitida Hook.

Common name: 

Glossy-leaved gardenia. Several local names in west African languages.

Conservation status: 

Considered rare and endangered in Burkina Faso, but not yet assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Due to its rarity, its habitat is not well known, but plants have been found in degraded closed forest, riverine forest and open deciduous forest.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental; of sacred value to villagers in west Africa; fruit occasionally eaten.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Gardenia

About this species

William J. Hooker, systematic botanist and first Director of Kew, published the name Gardenia nitida in 1847. Hooker’s original description was based on a plant grown from a seed taken from a herbarium specimen collected in Sierra Leone. The first herbarium specimens of G. nitida to be deposited in Burkina Faso were collected in 1997, during a botanical exploration organised by the Ouagadougou University and the Floristic Centre of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Gardenia nitida is one of the rarest plant species in Burkina Faso.


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