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Carolina Jessamine
Scientific Name: Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) J. St.-Hil.
Family: Loganiaceae
Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium  sempervirens) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 8-24,26-33
USDA: 8b-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 15F (-10C), semi-evergreen in the coldest areas of its range.

Heat Tolerance: Does look a bit sad at the end of the summer

Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade

Origin: South East of the United States

Growth Habits: Evergreen vine, up to 20 feet, can be also used as ground cover; milky sap, appearing when the stems are bruised; opposite lanceolate, glossy dark green, slightly leathery leaves, 1 to 4 inches long (2.5-10 cm)

Watering Needs: Does better with regular water, prefers well drained soil.

Propagation: Seeds, layers or easily by cuttings in spring

Carolina jessamine is South Carolina state flower. It grows well in Phoenix, covered with yellow flowers in late winter. All parts of the plant are toxic, containing an alkaloid related to strychnine. Although accidental poisoning is rare because of the plant bitterness, any ingestion is potentially deadly. The deers won't touch it.

Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium  sempervirens)

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 730. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society.

Cultural Practices:
Plant in the fall (in Phoenix) or early spring, 4 to 6 feet apart. Keep soil moist and fertilize monthly during of growing period. The Carolina jessamine grows rapidly once established if it has enough water and fertilizer. Too much fertilizer will decrease the amount of flowers. It can be pruned short after flowering in spring. If it is used as a ground cover, it can just be mowed every other year. Generally pest free.

Blooming Habits:
In Phoenix, the Carolina Jessamine has fragrant yellow flowers, 1 to 1.5 inches long (2.5 to 4 cm), from January to April. Its flowers are attractive to butterfles. It blooms better in cold weather.

The variety 'Pride of Augusta' (also known as 'Plena) has double flowers.

Fruiting Habits:

Arabian Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
Angelwing Jasmine (Jasminum nitidum)

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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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