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Cestrum nocturnum flower Queen of the Night (Cestrum nocturnum) Info
A night-blooming flower with a strong, sweet scent, this wonderful Saturn plant is a member of the Nightshade family (my favorite!), which has close associations with human beings in a large number of cultures across the world. The greenish-white flowers are insignificant in appearance, as we would expect from a Saturn plant, but they are probably the most powerfully scented flowers in the world. On especially warm evenings and on summer full moons (there's more than a bit of Moon to this plant--consider the name), their sweet, hypnotic scent, designed to attract pollinating moths, can be perceived up to 200 feet away. You can almost feel the scent in the air--it's very liquid in texture. Some claim that the scent can cause dizziness. Befitting its Saturn nature, this plant was used in funeral rituals in 19th-century Louisiana.

Non-Magickal Uses

This plant is a wonderful addition to the Moon Garden. A native of the West Indies and Central America, night-blooming jasmine is now cultivated in India, where the Malasar people use its juice for cataracts and where it is made into a rare attar (raat ki rani) used in Indian and Middle Eastern perfumery. small ripe cestrum berries The unripe berries of this plant cause hallucinations but can also cause coma if eaten in large quantities, although birds love them. The plant contains glyco-alkaloids and atropine-like alkaloids. People have used the leaves for various purposes, including for flavoring chili and in religious ritual. Like many Saturn plants, this floppy bush can be invasive--Saturn teaches us to pay attention to boundaries. This plant is also known as night-blooming jasmine. Top

How to Grow Queen of the Night

Cestrum nocturnum The seed germinates with warmth in 2-6 weeks. Outdoors in California and in the South, this plant can grow up to 12 feet, but it is floppy and does well next to a chainlink fence. You can prune it back to help it keep its shape. Plant outside in full sun or partial shade; in India it is planted beneath trees. It is hardly only to 25 F, so in the North, grow it in a container that you can put outside in summer and inside in a sunny window winter; it will grow 2-3 feet in a container and never need a pot larger than 5 gallons, max. It likes sandy soil and grows best at 75-85 F. If growing inside, it likes full sun or light shade and so needs a very sunny window. I would try using grow lights, although plenty of people keep it inside without them and just put them outside in the summer to perk them up. Regularly misting is helpful if you live in a dry climate or when you have the furnace running. It tends to get leggy inside, so having it as a hanging plant can help deal with that. When it is first brought inside from being out in the summer, it can drop most of its leaves. In that case, prune it back, and it will get new leaves and new shoots. Once the plant is up, you can root new plants easily from cuttings stuck into peat or even water. It is toxic to animals, so keep pets away from it. General growing info.   Top

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic

Funerary Magic
Saturn Herb
Moon Garden

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction of any part without permission.