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Gardenia scabrella Puttock

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Common Name: Star Flower
Full Sun: 6-8h Lots of Water Butterfly Food Plant Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Woody Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody), Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1.5 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1.5 m


Native Distribution Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large, woody, evergreen shrub or small tree with rounded crown.
Foliage Glossy, dark green leaves are elliptic with entire leaf margin. Leaves are deeply veined with prominent lateral veins, creating an uneven leaf texture. 
Stems Woody stem has smooth, greyish bark.
Flowers White, star-shaped flowers have 6 - 7 oval, slightly overlapping petals. Flowers have a strong, sweet fragrance and are produced throughout the year. They are pollinated by moths.
Cultivation This species blooms best in full sun, but also tolerates partial shade. Although tolerant of many soil types, it grows best in deep, acidic soils that are well-draining but moist. Mulch the plants with compost to prevent the soil from drying out or the roots from overheating. Feed plants with a palm fertilizer 3 times a year and prune after flowering.
Etymology The genus Gardenia is named after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730 - 1791) , an American doctor who also studied plants and animals. Species scabrella means somewhat scabrid.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This species is grown for its large, fragrant flowers. In the city of Cairns, Australia, this species is a common roadside shrub. It is suitable for container plantings and makes an attractive specimen plant. Avoid planting several types or too many fragrant flowering shrubs together, because the aromas could clash or become too strong.
Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers) (Day), Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Raised / Sunken Veins
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Days

Image Repository



Master ID 733
Species ID 2028
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.