Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Arbor Tristis) is a large shrub or small tree native to South Asia and India. It is usually 5-10 feet tall, but can grow up to 20 feet tall. It thrives in full sun or semi-shade, and requires moderate water. The unique and fragrant flowers of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis are 1-2 inches wide and range in color from pure white to off-white to red and crimson. These flowers are a great addition to any garden, as they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. In colder regions, it can also be grown in a pot, as it is mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time.
When planting Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, it is important to use well-drained soil and fertilize once a month. Additionally, the plant is ethno-medically important and is used in Buddhist temples for worship. Stems are used for relief of headache, leaf - cholecystagogue, and flower - antipyretic and treatment of faintness and vertigo.
In addition to its medicinal and spiritual significance, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is also a popular ornamental plant because of its beauty and romantic lore. According to mythology, the plant originated when God Krishna brought it to earth and a quarrel ensued between his wives Satyabhama and Rukmini. Another story suggests that a princess named Parijataka committed suicide when her lover left her, and the tree grew from her ashes, shedding flowers like tear-drops before the sun rises each morning before dawn.
No matter your reason for planting Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, it is sure to be an exotic addition to any garden.