The Magic Of The Tiare Flower
The Tiare flower, also known as the Tahitian gardenia has South Seas paradise written all over it. An image of its snowy white petals against a backdrop of shiny deep green leaves clearly identifies the Tiare flower as a tropical plant, but gives little hint as to its role in Polynesian culture, not to mention its fragrance, which can only be described as heavenly.
The Tiare flower can be grown outdoors in the United States, but only if you live in Florida, as it is only considered hardy in USDA Zone 10. It will grow in other areas of course, but must be moved indoors anytime the temperature dips into the 30's. Frost hardy it is not.
The Tiare flower is considered the queen of Polynesian flowers, and is for all intents and purposes the national and cultural symbol of Tahiti. It is worn as a single flower behind the ear by Tahitians, both men and women, and can be worn as a crown for gala occasions, and as a lei or necklace, a common practice in Tahiti, Hawaii, and throughout Polynesia.
Medicinal And Commercial Value - Many flowers and herbs enjoy somewhat of a cult following, especially if the are known or suspected to be of medicinal value. There are no claims or hype surrounding the Tiare flower as far as its ability to treat all ailments or prevent or cure deadly diseases. It is mainly a plant which is attractive with a wonderful fragrance, and a plant which, along with the oil of the Tahitian coconut forms the basis for a number of perfumes, lotions, and cosmetics. The flower does however have some well-established medicinal properties, proven through testing as well as by centuries of use to be both safe and effective.
The essence, oils, or powder of the Tiare flower does not cure cancer, strengthen the cardiovascular system, or sooth the digestive tract, it does have some definite medicinal uses. What the flower can do is soothe mosquito bites, and relieve migraine headaches and earaches, heal small wounds, and even effectively treat some forms of eczema. The most significant "medicinal" use of all may simply be the good feeling one gets from the pleasant fragrance a few blossoms in a small bowl of water will impart to a room.
The Tiare flower is a small shrub, classified as both a tropical shrub and a tender perennial. The shrub typically grows to a height of between 3' and 6', but may grow taller in some instances. The flowers are rather small and star-shaped. A Tiare bush is usually not heavily laden with flowers. On the other hand there are usually blooms present throughout the year. While most flowers are almost a pure white, some plants feature blossoms that tend towards more of a creamy white color. As noted above, the Tiare flower is a member of the Gardenia genus, a part of the Rubiaceae family. The botanical name for the Tiare flower species is taitensis.
Grow Your Own - The Tiare flower figures prominently in one of the major Tahitian exports, that of Monoi de Tahiti oil, an oil from the Tahitian coconut to which the fragrance of the Tiare flower has been added. The fragrance of the actual flower however is hard to duplicate and no matter where you live, it may well be worth trying to grow the plant to experience the real thing. It is not considered a particularly difficult plant to grow as long as it is not allowed to get too cold and as long as it gets plenty of sunlight. The plant would probably do well in a greenhouse or hothouse under artificial light, but in the southern tier of the United States could be placed out of doors for at least a part of the year.