Do you know your tropical trees? Can you identify this one?

This picture of the tree's leaves and blossoms was taken in Thailand. The fragrance of these blossoms is very startling and unique.

Thank you for any help!

enter image description here

3 Answers 3


This plant is not Cestrum nocturnum. This is Alstonia scholaris or Devils tree.

  • 2
    Could you inform us why you think this?
    – wax eagle
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:43
  • @waxeagle Leaf shape. Cestrum has prominent acuminate leaf tips, those of Alstonia, like those in the picture, are obtuse. The nervation is also very different from that in the Cestrum pics.
    – Circeus
    Dec 4, 2012 at 21:17
  • @Circeus you should put that in your answer. I commented because you've made an assertion, your answer should back that up.
    – wax eagle
    Dec 4, 2012 at 21:19
  • wow, great sleuthing, especially in that you found what was already an answered question and you appear to have provided a better answer. You sure know your stuff. I can see wax eagle's point that it's best to put extra support in your answer. since you have the knowledge, we are the angry crowd at the gates demanding it.... thanks!! Dec 5, 2012 at 4:54
  • I realize that, this time of year when I go through bangkok, I may be smelling both of the trees mentioned in this discussion. I have noticed that maybe there are a couple. And this line in the Alstonia entry made me realize that: "Flowers bloom in the month October. The flowers are very fragrant similar to the flower of Cestrum nocturnum." Nov 1, 2013 at 23:54

Looks like it might be Cestrum Nocturnum.

Via Wikipedia:

Cestrum nocturnum is a species of Cestrum in the plant family Solanaceae (the potato family). The species is native to the West Indies and South asia. Common names include Raatraani (Marathi: रातराणी), night-blooming cestrum, Hasna Hena, lady of the night, queen of the night, night-blooming jessamine and night-blooming jasmine.

  • 1
    ah ha -- yep, I believe you are right. I asked thai folks here and they said it was called something similar to "LLAA DEE" ... and when I did a search to translate the cestrum noctornum into thai, that came up. Awesome. Thanks much Oct 12, 2012 at 6:46

While I am not familiar with either plants, I agree with Anup wthis is not Night Jessamine (C. nosturnum). His/her guess of Devil Tree (Alstonia scholaris) seems a lot more likely to me.

  • Cestrum is a shrubby species that rarely gets to more than four meters (~12 ft) and lacks a defined trunk. This is very clearly a tree.
  • Cestrum has prominent acuminate leaf tips, those of Alstonia, like those in estephan500's picture, are obtuse (blunt).
  • Leaf nervation is also very different from that I see in images of C. nocturnum, which curves markedly, whereas it is almost perpendicular to the leaf shape in Alstonia and this mystery plant.
  • Alstonia scholaris is a native of Southeast Asia. Cestrum nocturnum is a Caribbean (West Indies) species.

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