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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.

Habitat: 

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.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Asteranae
Order: 
Gentianales
Family: 
Rubiaceae
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.

Genus: 
Gardenia

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