USA Official State Flower Official South Carolina State Flower


Carolina Jessamine


Yellow Jessamine

(Gelsemium sempervirens)
Adopted on February 1, 1924

The Carolina Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens,? was officially adopted by the General Assembly on February 1, 1924, for the following reasons: it is indigenous to every nook and corner of the State; it is the first premonitor of coming Spring; its fragrance greets us first in the woodland and its delicate flower suggests the pureness of gold; its perpetual return out of the dead Winter suggests the lesson of constancy in, loyalty to and patriotism in the service of the State.


"No flower that blooms holds such perfume,
As kindness and sympathy won.
Wherever there grows the sheltering pine
Is clinging a Yellow Jessamine vine."

From "Legend of the Yellow Jessamine," by Mrs. Teresa Strickland of Anderson, South Carolina, when the flower was made the emblem of Dixie Chapter, U.D.C., about 1906.

The "Carolina or Yellow Jessamine" is defined by the New International Encyclopedia as "A climbing plant which grows upon trees and fences and bears a profusion of yellow, funnel-shaped flowers an inch in diameter, with a fragrance similar to that of the true Jasmine." Its odor on a damp evening or morning fills the atmosphere with a rare and delicate sweetness.

"As fair as Southern Chivalry
As pure as truth, and shaped like stars"

Gelsemium sempervirens belongs to the family Loganiaceae. It grows in the piedmont and coastal areas of the southeastern U.S. It is an early flowering climbing vine. The flowers are yellow, funnel shaped, and have a strong odor. The roots and rhizome of yellow jessamine were historically used to treat migraine headaches and types of neuralgia.


  • Common Names: Carolina Jessamine, Gelber Jasmin, Jasmin sauvage, Sariyasemin, and Yellow Jessamine
  • Stem: Thin, wiry, greenish to brown, glabrous.
  • Size: 10 to 20'; will climb trees or scramble over fences, rock piles, and other structures; can develop a 3 to 4' mound of tangled stems if left to its own devices.
  • Leaves: Opposite, simple, evergreen, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, rarely ovate, 1 to 3 3/4" long, 1/3 as wide, acute or acuminate, rounded, lustrous dark green and glabrous above, entire; short-petioled.
  • Leaf Color: Lustrous dark green developing a slight yellow-green or purple-green cast in winter.
  • Buds: Several pairs of scales rather loosely aggregated together.
  • Flowers: Perfect, yellow, fragrant, solitary or in cymes, 1 1/2" long, 1" wide, funnelform with 5 short imbricate lobes; February into April; often flowers again in fall but sporadically; usually peaks in late March
  • Fruit: Compressed, 1 1/2" long, short-beaked capsule, summer?fall, looks like an old water bottle.
  • Habitat: Twining evergreen vine with thin, wiry stems; becomes more dense when sited in full sun; have used the species as a ground cover on the Georgia campus but plants twine around each other and ascend every which direction creating a rather wild and woolly aura, akin to my never combed hair.


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae ?
Order Gentianales ?
Family Loganiaceae ? Logania family
Genus Gelsemium Juss. ? trumpetflower
Species Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) St. Hil. ? evening trumpetflower