45 Gelsemium sempervirensCommon Names: Carolina yellow jasmine, jessamine Family: Loganiaceae (logania Family)
The yellow Carolina jasmine (or "jessamine") is an attractive evergreen vine that tends to remain bushy and compact when grown in bright sun. When shaded though, it will climb up and over adjacent shrubs and trees to heights of more than 20 ft (6.1 m) in its quest for sunlight. The glossy rich green leaves are narrow oblongs with pointed tips and are 2-3 in (5.1-10.2 cm) long by 0.5 in (1.3 cm) wide. They are held in opposite pairs along smooth wiry reddish-brown stems. Small clusters of fragrant yellow tubular flowers are produced from late winter to early spring depending on location and temperature. The showy blossoms are about 2 in (5.1 cm) long and have a flared mouth 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.
Gelsemium sempervirens is native to the southeastern United States. Carolina jasmine is widely grown as an ornamental in mild climate areas.
CultureLight: Sun to part shade. Moisture: Needs adequate moisture to look its best. Carolina jasmine is very drought tolerant but tends to drop leaves and look raggedy until moisture returns. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 9. tolerates frost, killed by persistent freeze. Propagation: Seed, layers and softwood cuttings.
Carolina jasmine will rapidly cover arbors, tree trunks, trellises, etc. in a season or two. This is a well behaved vine that will stay in scale and can be used on decks and porches and on trellises near patios and entryways. It grows well in containers and as ground cover along steep banks. Carolina jasmine is a good candidate for low maintenance landscapes.
This fast growing evergreen vine is easy to grow and readily available. Here in north Florida, the sight of Carolina jessamine's (a variant spelling of "jasmine") happy yellow flowers is one of our first signs of spring. The wiry reddish brown stems are flexible and inspire another common name for this vine,"poor man's rope" (because it breaks easily so only poor men use it - uh, I guess...)
An almost identical species grows here in the southeastern United States, it is the swamp jessamine (Gelsemium rankinii) which also has yellow flowers but unlike G. sempervirens, these are not fragrant.
All parts of this plant are poisonous.
Jack Scheper 10/4/97; updated 3/22/04, 2/11/05, 2/17/08