Aromatic Plants · Bengal jasmine · bubblegum flower · cestrum nocturnum · · hypnotizing scent · lunar bloom · magical flowers · midnight garden · night-blooming jasmine · Queen of the Night

Delight of the Night: Hasna Hena

Hasna Hena. The name itself is like a soft, rhythmic whisper – a precious fragment of a beautiful poem. Yet there is a perceptible darkness in the background of the gently shimmering acoustics; its phonetics are reminiscent of the hiss of a snake, and may conjure the image of one’s flickering tongue among mysterious depths. It is little wonder that in Bangladesh it’s actually said that the sweetness of this flower charms the snakes. So supreme is the scent of hasna hena that in English it’s often referred to as night-blooming jasmine – widely felt to be one of the most superior of all scented flowers – though it’s important to note that botanically, the species is not a jasmine as it’s from the genus Cestrum. 

Having had the sheer blessing of getting to finally witness hasna hena in my grandfather’s garden while in Bangladesh this season, I can say there is actually nothing ‘dark’ about hasna hena’s breath except it being wonderfully mystical. Its heaven-ness is probably what tempts the snakes, more than anything devil-esque could have the power to do. The divine power and the angelic allure of hasna hena at midnight is incomparable. Word that this ‘night-blooming jasmine’ can scent a whole garden in the late evening, I had learned, was no exaggeration – even with my grandfather’s garden being particularly big. The hasna hena shrub in midnight bloom basically looks like an explosion of pretty little white shooting stars, and is dramatic beneath an ink sky already radiantly embellished with stars (in this part of Bangladesh, generally nights are incredibly clear and majestic).

The scent instinctively reminded me of bubblegum, but in the naturalest, nectar-syrupiest, tree-gummiest kind of way. For this particular sweetness was airy, fresh, elevating and dreamy. The vision that hasna hena inspired in me was one of being by a body of water with a fountain, sparkling at midnight… Stars endlessly glittering the sky and a jaw-dropping diamond-coloured moon… Air as fresh and welcoming as the gates of Paradise… Large, relaxed bubbles from the water rising heavenwards slowly, peacefully, and happily, as though they had a fairy consciousness of their own. I myself felt like one of these bubbles, euphoric as if filled with helium at the liberating fragrance of the sweet air. Such is the mesmerising quality of hasna hena. I look forward to researching more about it and other flowers related to it.


2 thoughts on “Delight of the Night: Hasna Hena

  1. Hi Jennifer 🙂
    You're so lucky! It's rare to find jasmine in England, and very difficult to get to grow and flourish. Although, I'd say this does make me extremely excited and appreciative when I do come across it 🙂

  2. What lovely imagery. A lot of jasmine grows here in California, in fact the creamy scent is very much a part of the summer scent here.

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