Botanical Name

Gelsemium sempervirens

Year Adopted

1924

Peak Bloom

March to April

History

Historically Yellow Jessamine was used as a topical to treat papulous eruptions and measles.

Fun Fact

The plant is extremely poisonous when eaten.

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To many South Carolinians, the sweet fragrance of the Yellow Jessamine signals the welcome return of spring. Each year after the cold of winter dissipates; yellow flowers emerge on the climbing vine of the South Carolina state flower. Though attractive in their own right, these trumpet-shaped blooms are better known for their sweet, dreamy and even spircy perfume. The Jessamine’s unmistakeable fragrance is no doubt one reason the plant was chosen as the state flower.

When the flower was selected in 1924, lawmakers in Columbia noted it was “indigenous to every nook and corner of the state.” Though the Jessamine grows abundantly throughout several southeastern states, South Carolinians proudly claim the flower is at its best in their state. Around Charleston and North Charleston, the flowers of the Jessamine adorn suburban gardens and yards. The vine winds its way along trellises or lattice structures of woven wood commonly used to support climbing plants in gardens.

The Yellow Jessamine even snakes along the land as a ground cover. South Carolina’s state flower is also called the “mailbox plant” because residents in many neighborhoods use it to attractively cover mailbox posts. While the Yellow Jessamine puts on a good show in gardens and yards, its floral “shows” in the wild are equally outstanding. The vine climbs up tree trunks, winds around branches then hangs down like a blanket covering a tree.

Despite its sweet name and delicate perfume, the South Carolina state flower is quite poisonous. Deer and other wildlife avoid it and bees that drink its nectar have killed off entire hives. Children who mistake the Jessamine’s nectar for Honeysuckle have also become ill from it.

Growing Information

Soil

Well-drained

Sun

Full Sun/Partial Shade

Zones

7 - 11

Top image courtesy of TexasEagle.