Pretty poison

Gelsemium sempervirens Photo available for purchase

Gelsemium sempervirens

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 02:06 PM.

Gelsemium sempervirens is a twining vine native to warm temperate and tropical America from Guatemala north to Virginia.  Right now, it is blooming in our gardens and along roadsides.

It has a number of common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine, false jasmine, Carolina jasmine , evening trumpet flower, gelsemium and woodbine. The term woodbine is used for many native climbing plants including Virginia creeper.

This is not a true jasmine.

Yellow jasmine can grow to 20-feet tall when given suitable climbing support in trees, with thin stems. It is evergreen, with lustrous, dark green leaves. The bright yellow, trumpet shaped flowers are borne in clusters. The flowers sometimes have an orange center. They are pleasantly fragrant and produce nectar that attracts a range of pollinators.

With proper training, the yellow jasmine vine can cover an arbor, trellis, fence, wall or pergola. It also works well as a porch cover where the blossoms attract hummingbirds and spicebush swallowtail butterflies. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center website lists yellow jasmine as a source of nectar for hummingbirds.

It flowers in early spring. Yellow jasmine must be planted in full sun for it to flower profusely, and, given enough sun and warmth, a second wave of flowers can reappear in autumn.

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