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Carolina Jasmine

Q:  What are the vines with bright yellow flowers I see blooming now?

A:  The vine you are describing is most likely Carolina jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens, and also called Yellow jessamine or Carolina jessamine. This vine is found in forest or natural areas in open woods and thickets.  Carolina jasmine is native to the United States and found in most areas along the eastern Seaboard. Although it can be weedy in an ideal environment, it is not invasive. The sunny yellow, tubular flowers will be in higher production in full sun which is why the vine grows to the top of trees and shrubs – it is seeking the most sun possible. There is a double-flowered cultivar called ‘Pride of Augusta’ (sometimes known as ‘Plena’) which has a longer blooming period. Carolina jasmine would be a good vine to grow on arbors if the area received a good amount of sun exposure. All parts of the plant are poisonous and it can be fatal if eaten.  It can grow in cold hardiness zones 7-9, prefers moist, well drained acid soils.