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With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Wrightia religiosa Bonsai - Santalia, Melati, Jeliti, Anting Putri, Water Plum Jasmine

Wrightia religiosa or water plum jasmine is very popular among bonsai enthusiasts here in tropical Asia, particularly Malaysia and South East Asia because this fast-growing evergreen perennial is very easy to shape, bend and maintain. Best of all, it is ever-flowering and blooms profusely with a strong, wonderful fragrance. Bonsai experts can manipulate the blooming cycle to coincide with flower shows and exhibitions.

Here are some outstanding Wrightia religiosa bonsai specimens that were made into beautiful pieces of art. The photographs were taken during Floria 2010 and the exhibitors are members of Sanfong Bonsai & Art Garden.

There are more pictures of single and double flowers, seed pods here: "The many faces of Wrightia religiosa - Part 2"

My NST article dated 12 Nov 2011 about Wrightia religiosa is titled "Princess Earrings in the Garden", click here to read more.

Wrightia religiosa Bonsai - Santalia, Melati, Jeliti, Anting Putri, Water Plum Jasmine”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on March 26th, 2012.

Each exhibit has its own stand with a tag containing the name and contact numbers of the authors/owners.

Some of the Wrightia religiosa bonsai exhibits are labeled as "Santalia" or "Jeliti"

I wonder if anyone know why this plant is called "Santalia"? 
Santalia seems to be a general name for a category of similar plants. At the moment, I can't find much information about this from the internet or books. There is also Taiwan Santalia and Vientnam Santalia.

Wrightia religiosa is known as "Melati" or "Jeliti" in malay. 
Other plants with fragrant flowers which are also grouped under "Melati" are:
Tabernaemontana coronaria, Wrightia tormentosa, Wrightia laniti and Wrightia pubescens.

Wrightia religiosa is a small tree up to 3m high with an upright trunk and lots of close and compact branching. It is fast growing, loves the full sun and require lots of watering. The soil should be moist but well-drained. It is a hardy plant that is seldom affected by pests or plant disease problems.

A good choice for bonsai beginners to practise on.

5 - A Wrightia religiosa bonsai in full bloom

Scientific name: Wrightia religiosa 
Synonym: Echites religiosa

Common names:
Water Jasmine, Wild Water Plum, Common Wrightia, Sacred Buddhist, Thai Temple Bells

Chinese name: 水梅 (shui mei - meaning water plum)
Malay name: Melati, Jeliti
Indonesian name: Anting Putri (Princess Earrings)
Thai name: Mok (โมก)

Family: Apocynaceae
Category: Evergreen, ever-flowering small tree
Origin: Northern Peninsular Malaysia (Kedah, Perlis) and Thailand
Photo taken at: Floria 2010

Wrightia religiosa has single as well as double flowers. 
The flowers are tiny but very fragrant.
Flowering is profuse.
The single flower variety is the most common one used for bonsai. 


Which one do you like most?


  1. Ooo, nice shui mei bonsai. Have you seen those at the KL Bonsai and Orchid Exhibition? There are some nice specimens on display.

  2. I like the first and the fourth best. I love bonsai but have not mastered the technique...yet.

  3. The 1st pic for its gorgeous roots & trucks as well as the 1 in full bloom :) Shui Mei smells heavenly with a single cluster of flowers, I can just imagine the wonderful scent coming from that fully bloomed tree that day!

  4. Number 1 is my favorite. The size is impressive and it truly appears part of the earth as it rises up from the pot.

  5. Number 5 for me,although hard to choose just 1. I agree with Patty as well number one looks good as it rises up.

  6. Very nice! I admire the creative eye, artistry, patience and dedication of bonsai makers. Admittedly I don't have the talent for this.

  7. I had recently trimmed my wrightia to make it into a bonsai.
    So far it looked like getting there.

    Did you manage to go to the Orchid & Bonsai Exhibition held during this week? The really exhibited lots of bonsai to marvel with.
    And especially wrightia - it really bloomed and shed all the fragrance around the exhibit space.

  8. I think No. 6 looks so natural, like an aged tree in miniature.

  9. They are all beautiful, but after seeing a lot of bonsai in the last garden and orchid show here, I still return to my own preference, the hardwood bonsai. Actually, that is the true bonsai, these later plants are made to look like one and later already termed bonsai too because these plants are easier to handle and one would wait for a very long time. But hardwoods are excellent for me, because it really takes patience to wait, which i dont have.

  10. It's so beautiful collection. I can't choose.....

  11. I would love to have Bonsia in my garden they are so lovely and unique. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Thank you my friends. I fell in love with WR when we first met at the Bonsai Garden of Floria 2010. I don't have time nor skills for bonsai cultivation but I just couldn't forget WR, so I went to the nursery and bought some home. Now I have a mini bonsai and a regular sized double flower WR growing in flower pots. Bonsai is already small, can you imagine how small my mini bonsai is? In my next post on 30 March 2012, there are more info/pictures about the wonderful WR.


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