Rhythm Of Nature

Nandyarvattam Flower – Crape Jasmine

Nandyarvattam is a tree-like shrub with white flowers. Also known as Crape Jasmine in English, its flower looks like a pinwheel. In Kerala, it is usually grown in household gardens and courtyards.

Since it is widely used for offerings and poojas, it is often grown on temple premises also.

As per beliefs, its white flowers are special for Lord Vishnu. So in Sanskrit, it has a name – Vishnupriya.

Nandyarvattam Flower - Tabernaemontana divaricata
Flowers of Nandyarvattam – Photos from Kottayam, Kerala

Important Details

Plant Type:
Evergreen Shrub/Small Tree

Family: Apocynaceae
Scientific name: Tabernaemontana divaricata /
Tabernaemontana coronaria

Height: ~1 to 4 meters
white, 5 petals, 3 to 5 cm diameter
Flowering: all round the year

Distribution: Asia – found all over India

Common Names:
English: Pinwheel flower, Crape Jasmine
Malayalam: Nandyarvattam
Tamil: Adukku Nandiarvattai
Hindi: Chameli, Chandni, Tagar
Sanskrit: Nandeevruksha, Ksheeri,
Nandyavartha, Vishnupriya

Main uses: for poojas, traditional medicines, ornamental plant


This evergreen plant has many branches. The size and general morphology of the plant vary significantly from one plant to another.

Mostly, the plant looks like a shrub and does not grow more than 2 meters in height. However, in some cases, it grows well above that and looks like a small tree.

The leaves are ovate and opposite with length up to 15 cm. The tip is pointed. Breaking the leaf or branch produces a white sap.

The size of the flowers also varies. It can be from 2.5 to 5 cm across. The white petals are five in number with a slight twist towards the left (idampiri in Malayalam), making the flower appear like a pinwheel. There is also a variety with the twist towards the right (valampiri), but I think it is rare.

There is also another variety of Nandyarvattam with fragrant double-flowers. Whereas the normal variety is not fragrant.

The fruit is about 3 cm long while the seed has a length of 7.5 mm.

Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine
Flowers often occur in groups
Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine
A slightly different variety with broader petals
Nandyarvattam - Pinwheel flower - Crape Jasmine

Distribution & Habitat

Nandyarvattam is native to south and southeast Asia including India and parts of China where it has several uses in traditional medicines. The plant prefers moist, fertile soil with good availability of sunlight although it can grow under shade too.

Cultivation is possible from seeds as well as stem cutting.

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