Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a twining, evergreen vine that grows up to 20 feet and can be trained to climb arbors, trellises, fences and other upright structures. Native to hardwood forests and upland mixed forests from Virginia and Florida west to Arkansas and eastern Texas and south to Guatemala, this vine is especially known for its beautifully fragrant canary-yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that typically appear in our area in late January or early February. For us, the appearance of its blooms acts as one of nature’s signals that winter is drawing to a close.
With value to wildlife that ranges from cover to sustenance, Carolina jasmine provides high value to wildlife. Its nectar attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Warblers, cardinals, thrashers and other birds eat its fruit.
Carolina jasmine thrives in full sun and is deer resistant. The plant prefers well-drained, acidic soil pH that is regularly moist but it can tolerate neutral and alkaline soil pH and occasional flooding and occasionally dry soil conditions.
Please note: All parts of this plant contain toxic strychnine-related alkaloids and the plant is highly poisonous to humans. It is also extremely flammable. Consequently, please keep the plant away from children and plant it outside the defensible space of your home.