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Photo Credit: James Parker



  • FAMILY Solanaceae
  • CATEGORY Shrubs, Vines, & Others

purple Cestrum, bastard jasmine (Cestrum elegans)

Native to Mexico, Cestrum elegans is sparingly cultivated in Hawaii. It has a leggy and sprawling appearance consisting of alternately arranged green colored ovate-shaped leaves and purple funnel-shaped flowers with five shallowly lobed petals. It is listed as a major weed in parts of Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It has the ability to invade, transform and degrade intact forests and disturbed sites. Many seeds are produced each year, remaining viable yet dormant in a wide range of soil types for up to eight years. The plant readily reproduces by vegetative fragments and cuttings. Seeds are dispersed by way of humans, water, and birds. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals-livestock can die within an hour of consuming the plant.

  • Leggy and sprawling with arching branches
  • Younger stems are clothed with purple hair
  • Ovate shaped green leaves with a pointed tip are alternately arranged
  • Leaves emit a bad smell when crushed
  • Clusters of purple funnel-shaped flowers are born at the branch tips


  • Tolerates a wide range of soil types and climates
  • Seeds remain viable yet dormant for up to eight years
  • Propagules are spread short distances by way of birds and water, long distances by humans
  • Toxic to mammals and humans