Gardenia is a genus of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands.
The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus and John Ellis after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottish-born American naturalist.
They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1–15 metres (3.3–49.2 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, 5–50 centimetres (2.0–19.7 in) long and 3–25 centimetres (1.2–9.8 in) broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white, or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5-12 lobes (petals) from 5–12 centimetres (2.0–4.7 in) diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer, and many species are strongly scented.