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Carolina Jasmine Gelsemium sempervirens

Phonetic Spelling
gel-SEM-ee-um sem-per-VEE-renz
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Carolina yellow jasmine (sometimes called false jasmine or Carolina jessamine) is a member of the family Gelsemiaceae. It is a vine native to the southern United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. Its name derives from the Italian name for jasmine, gelsomino, and the species name indicates that it is evergreen. It was named the state flower of South Carolina in 1924.

It is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Although it will tolerate light shade, best flowering and growth occur in sun. It tolerates wind and is moderately tolerant of salt, wet soil, or short periods of drought. Carolina jessamine has a modest growth rate until well-established. It may grow from 12 to 20 feet as a twining vine trained to an arbor or trellis after three to four growing seasons. If unsupported, it creates a bushy ground cover. Pruning, which is best done soon after it finishes flowering, is generally only needed for shape and training to its support.

Admired for its sweetly scented, canary-yellow flowers and glossy evergreen foliage, this vine really puts on a show from February to May, depending on the weather. The foliage generally bronzes in winter.

Carolina jessamine can be found in the wild in wooded areas and thickets growing up tree trunks. It can become weedy in disturbed areas and along roadsides. In cultivation, it is well suited for growing in vertical spaces like trellises, arbors, fences, planters, porch columns, and screens.


Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Thin, wiry, evergreen vine that climbs by twining
  • Leaves are shiny green, opposite and lanceolate
  • Persistent fruit is a flattened, dehiscent capsule
  • Flowers are golden yellow, funnelform, axillary

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flava'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Pride of Augusta'
    double flowers
'Flava', 'Margarita', 'Pride of Augusta'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#red leaves#salt tolerant#cover plant#low maintenance#winter interest#apvg#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire extreme flammability#NC native#trellises#glossy leaves#red stems#showstopper#native vine#pollinator plant#fantz#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#arbor#nectar plant early spring#apvg-vg#bee friendly#Audubon#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flava'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Pride of Augusta'
    double flowers
'Flava', 'Margarita', 'Pride of Augusta'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#red leaves#salt tolerant#cover plant#low maintenance#winter interest#apvg#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#fire extreme flammability#NC native#trellises#glossy leaves#red stems#showstopper#native vine#pollinator plant#fantz#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#arbor#nectar plant early spring#apvg-vg#bee friendly#Audubon#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Gelsemium
    Species:
    sempervirens
    Family:
    Loganiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE. U.S.A. to Honduras
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Areas of dense growth provide extreme weather and winter cover. Its flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Thin, flattened capsule fruit. A dry, green to brown, laterally compressed or flattened capsule, dehiscent, persistent, up to 1" long. Splits open to appear as four lobes. Displays from September to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Bright, fragrant, funnel-shaped, yellow flowers (to 1.5” long) that appear either solitary or in clusters (cymes) in late winter to early spring (February-May depending on location), sometimes blooming again in the fall. Its flowers often serve as a demonstrative signal that winter is coming to an end. in axillary dichasia/cymes, or flower solitary. Bright yellow, fragrant, commonly 1-3, zygomorphic; sepals obtuse, shedding before fruit; corolla funnelform with 5 short, overlapping lobes, orange within, to 1" long x 1" broad.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Shiny, lanceolate, light green leaves (to 1-3” long) which are evergreen but may develop yellow to purple hues in winter. The plants are semi-evergreen toward the northern limits of their growing range. Opposite, simple, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, acute to acuminate, broad cueate, entire, dark green, glabrous, glossy, to 2" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Greenish brown to red-brown, glabrous, thin and wiry, twining; leaves and inflorescences typically borne on dwarf shoots to short pins.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Children
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Sweating, nausea, muscular weakness, dilated pupils, lowered temperature, convulsions, respiratory failure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems