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News Story
Updated: 06/18/2014 12:13:45AM

Carolina jessamine — herald of spring

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GardGate011713A

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Carolina jessamine is one of our winter flowering native plants. A bright splash of yellow sparkling in the tree tops against a winter clear blue sky is a sure sign spring is on its way.

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Vines may be sparsely to densely foliated, with lance shaped leaves borne opposite along the reddish brown wiry stem. The leaves are shiny dark green above and duller beneath. The vine may be somewhat aggressive and may require some pruning.

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

The fragrant bright yellow flowers are funnel shaped and from 1 to 1 1/2 in. long. They are borne in clusters on small stalks. The fruit is a capsule about 1/2 to 3/4 in. long.


By KAREN SMOKE

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A bright splash of yellow sparkling in the tree tops against a winter clear blue sky is a sure sign spring is on its way. Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is a hardy climbing vine that blooms during late winter to early spring. Also sometimes referred to as Carolina jasmine, the genus name is a Latinazation of the Italian word for jasmine. The species name means evergreen, and this loosely twining vine is excellent to use to conceal a chain-link fence or to train on mailboxes, trellises and arbors where an evergreen vine is desired. It also may be grown as a groundcover, though if it finds something to climb it will readily ascend. Because it is not a heavy vine, it may be allowed to scramble over native trees and shrubs.

The fragrant bright yellow flowers are funnel-shaped and from 1 to 1½ inch long. They are borne in clusters on small stalks. The odor is pleasant but sometimes strong, but not as strong as the non-native jasmine. A species found in moist soils, G. rankinii, is less fragrant. The fruit is a capsule about ½ to ¾ inch long.

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