Crape jasmine commonly called pinwheel flower, East India rosebay and Nero's crown is an evergreen shrub native to South Asia and now cultivated throughout South East Asia and the warmer regions of continental Asia. In zones where it is not hardy it is grown as a house/glasshouse plant for its attractive flowers and foliage. The stem exudes a milky latex when broken, whence the name milk flower.
Crape jasmine, a shrub very common in India, generally grows to a height of 6 ft. However, it can also grow into a small tree with a thin, crooked stem. Like many members of the Oleander family, stems exude a milky latex when broken. The large shiny leaves are deep green and are 6 or more inches in length and about 2 inches in width. Crape jasmine blooms in spring but flowers appear sporatically all year. The waxy blossoms are white five-petaled pinwheels that are borne in small clusters on the stem tips. Flowers are commonly used in pooja
in north and south India.
Grape jasmine is widely used as a medicinal herb in the tropics. Indeed, in India the applications in traditional medicine are so numerous that the plant may well be classified as a panacea for gastro-intestinal, urogenital and skin affections. The wood is refrigerant. The roots are astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and various abdominal complaints. The roots are used in modern medicine to treat hypertension, headache, and scabies. The pounded leaves are an ingredient of a cough medicine taken as an infusion.