Thursday, May 20, 2010

Carolina Jessamine

Gelsemium sempervirens
A fast growing, evergreen, twining vine native to the southeast U.S. ( from Arkansas to Virginia; south to eastern Texas to central Texas ) that can reach up to 40 x 20 feet in size. Some record include: largest on record - 5o feet high with a trunk diameter of 6 inches. It is great for fences and patio trellises.
The lance-shaped or oval leaves, up to 4 x 0.6 inches in size, are glossy dark green, often turning to bronze during fall and winter.
The abundant, fragrant, bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 1.5 x 1 inches in size, are borne for up to 2 months during early to mid spring. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
It prefers full sun ( but tolerates partial shade ) on moist, fertile, slightly acidic, well drained soil. It is moderately drought tolerant and also floodplain tolerant. It can be cut back hard if it gets overgrown or top heavy. Carolina Jasmine is deer and rabbit resistant.
Hardy zone 7 to 10 ( 6 if sheltered ) and can be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings or seed. Moderately salt tolerant and extremely heat tolerant, even thriving in southern Arizona. Seed source from southern parts of its natural range may not be hardy in the northern part of its range. For that reason it is important ot use local seed source.

* photo taken on April 18 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Mar 7 2013 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD
* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photos taken on Apr 12 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Much hardier with slightly larger, clear yellow flowers borne during spring, often repeating during autumn.
Fully hardy north to zone 6 and survives as low as -25 F though with at least some winter dieback.

* photo taken on Oct 17 2011 in Howard Co, MD

* photo taken on May 1 2014 in Columbia, MD

Gelsemium rankinii ( Swamp Jessamine )
A fast growing, evergreen vine, reaching 20 + feet, that is similar to Carolina Jessamine, except that it flowers during autumn, repeating in mid spring. The abundant flowers are not fragrant but still attract hummingbirds. It can be planted with G. sempervirens in order to get a longer season of flowering.
The leaves are narrow.
This native of swamps in the southeastern U.S. ( from Louisiana to coasral North Carolina ) and is hardy zones 7 to 9.
It is tolerant of wet soil and flooding.

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