Named after Dr. Alexander Garden, an 18th century Scottish naturalist, the gardenia is a latecomer to perfumery, following jasmin, rose, and violet. Gardenia flower oil was used in fragrances in the early part of the 20th century. Today gardenia flower oil is scarcely produced, and synthetic compounds are used more often.
Many species of gardenias grow in various parts of the world, particularly in the Far East. It was reported that gardenias grow well in the Chungking region in China, where tuberose and osmanthus are also cultivated. In Japan, Gardenia jasminoides is widely distributed. Gardenia grandiflora Lour and Gardenia florida L. (fam. Rubiaceae) originated in equatorial and South Africa.
Mode of ProductIon, Yield, and Type of Oil
In the beginning of the century, gardenia was cultivated in Reunion Island. As in the case of other delicate flowers, steam distillation of gardenia flowers does not give any results. In the past enfleurage was used, and on extraction with alcohol numbered infusions were obtained, giving on evaporation of alcohol concentrated extracts of pomade lavages. A more modern method of extraction was the use of volatile solvents, resulting in concrete oils and, on treatment with alcohol, absolutes.