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common name for the Rubiaceae, a family of chiefly tropical and subtropical trees, shrubs, and herbs, especially abundant in N South America. The family is important economically for several tropical crops, e.g., coffee, quinine, and ipecac, and for many ornamentals, e.g.
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a genus of evergreen and some deciduous shrubs or small trees of the Rubiaceae family. The flowers are individual, large, and fragrant with five to nine white, yellow, or violet petals. The fruit is a berry. There are about 250 species in tropical and subtropical Asia, as well as in tropical and southern Africa. Many species are used for decoration. The most widely cultivated—for example, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus—is the Gardenia jas-miniodes (G. florida, G. radicans), which has white flowers. Double-blossom types may reach a diameter of 10 cm and are used for cut flowers. In horticulture this type is sometimes known as cape jasmine. Certain species, such as G. latifolia, have heavy, hard wood suitable for working. The buds and young shoots of G. campanulata and G. gummifera produce resinous substances.