yellow jasmine

An Old Friend Flower

Yellow Jasmine. I had not seen this once-common and familiar flowering vine for many years living well north of its tropical range.

You could easily miss this climbing vine as you race along the interstates of the deep south–until you notice it, and then see it everywhere while it blooms in March and April.

I’ll take the lazy way out and just pass along some botanical background on this lovely–if sometimes noxious–southern wildflower. From Wikipedia…

All parts of this plant contain the toxic strychnine-related alkaloids gelsemine and gelseminine and should not be consumed.[5] The sap may cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. Children, mistaking this flower for honeysuckle, have been poisoned by sucking the nectar from the flower.[6]

The nectar is also toxic to honeybees,[7] which may cause brood death when gathered by the bees. The nectar may, however, be beneficial to bumblebees. It has been shown that bees fed on gelsemine have a reduced load of Crithidia bombi in their fecal mater. Reduced parasite load increases foraging efficiency, and pollinators may selectively collect otherwise toxic secondary metabolites as a means of self-medication.[8]

Despite the hazards, this is a popular garden plant in warmer areas, frequently being trained to grow over arbors or to cover walls. Yellow Jessamine is the state flower of South Carolina.

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One thought on “An Old Friend Flower”

  1. Your spelling and Wikipedia’s spelling aren’t the same. Whizz up? In Calidornia, we have a white sweet smelling flower called night-blooming jasmine. Any relation?

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