Chandra Shekhar, an M.Sc student of Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS) in Naini in Prayagraj, has developed a new variety of star jasmine flower that can withstand the extreme cold conditions of north India.
The star jasmine was developed by scientists at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) in 2019 and was meant to be a perennial variety that could be grown in every season in the southern states. The jasmine flower is extensively used in temples and rituals.
The plant can handle extreme climatic conditions
Tamil Nadu has an average minimum temperature of 21 degree Celsius in December-January, which the plant can well handle. Northern states, including Uttar Pradesh, witness temperatures as low as 3 to 4 degree Celsius in winters and the plant cannot survive in such cold temperatures.
Chandra Shekhar said, "After 10 months of trial and error, we were now able to harvest the flowers in extreme winter, besides peak monsoon seasons too."
The new 'all-season star jasmine' has a long stem and bold buds with a pink tinge. The buds bloom into a white star-shaped flower with usually 10 petals that are leaner and longer. The flowers are mildly fragrant and the leaves are dark green and glossy.
Dr S.S. Saravanan, associate professor of horticulture at SHUATS, and Chandra Shekhar's guide in the project said that he longer life span and shelf life of the star jasmine could promise round-the-year income for farmers and could be a game-changer.
"The all-season star jasmine can certainly change the pattern of flower cultivation here and revolutionize the agriculture sector. It can also replace the common jasmine because it is more affordable," he said.
There is also a high demand for fragrant jasmine that is also used to make essential oils for a wide range of cosmetic products.