A recent inquiry has attracted the interest of many readers and we've received a number of suggestions in response. If you were among those who were transported back to Abqaiq sifting through your memory for the name of a sweet-smelling, night-blooming, white-blossomed flower, we are happy to share our findings with you.

The question posed by Roshni Hebert began with, "We lived in a Guildway in Abqaiq from 1977 to 1991. We had the most beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers growing in our yard and we are trying to find their name. They were white, looked a little like Lillies, blossomed only at night, and closed to retain their moisture during the day. Would anyone know the name of such a flower?"

Responses varied but overwhelmingly readers replied with Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum Nocturnum). Interestingly, however, when searching for photo images of Night Blooming Jasmine, the plot thickened as there is another, similarly named flower called Arabian Nights Jasmine, a rare variety of Jasminum Sambac. If one is to trust the images on the web, these flowers look very different. We are providing you with images of both for you to discern. Night Blooming Jasmine does appear to be more lily-like which is in keeping with Roshni's description.

Name That Flower
Night Blooming Jasmine
Asit K. Ghosh Thaumaturgist, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yousuf Shariff worked in Abqaiq in the Southern Area Training Department at the same time as Roshni and replied, "The name of that "Lilly type" flower is "Night Blooming Jasmine." In India we call it Raat ki Rani. Popularly known in Hindi as Raat ki Rani din ka Raja. This more precisely matches the description given.

We found this YouTube video of Night Blooming Jasmine to be informative.


Reader Doranda Boodhoo-Sirjue suggests Lillies of the Night (which in our search results we found night-scented lilies, Alocasia Odora, or night-blooming waterlilies) while Ron Gama suggests Mogra (which in our search results led us to Jasminum Sambac or more specifically Arabian Jasmine). Arabian Jasmine can be a small shrub or vine.

Name That Flower
Jasminum Sambac
Shu Suehiro, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mahala Brixey asked if the flowers grew on trees with big leaves close to the flowers and suggested Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, which can boast white or pink blossoms, while Harry Day suggested Gardenia. See photos below.

Name That Flower
Plumeria, also known as Frangipani
Varun Pabrai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Name That Flower
Queerbubbles, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One reader supplied a link to an article dedicated to Moon Gardens, 18 Night-Blooming Plants for Your Moon Garden. Among the 18 plants listed, Night Blooming Jasmine appears.

Name That Flower
Sammy Ray, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If anyone has a photograph of the flowers in question, David Jessich would be happy to check his flower reference book for an answer. Photographs can be sent to info@aramcoexpats.com.

We were delighted to receive so many helpful responses from our readers and encourage you to comment on this article if you would like to provide additional feedback.