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Yellow Jessamine

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Mary Keim
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Flickr
Yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Our state flower is actually a vine. Yellow Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens. My part of the world is ablaze with the vibrant, trumpet shaped yellow flowers that with their twining stems can climb chain link fences and pine trees with equal ease. While recording a M I G show with us recently, Extension Agent Paul Thompson said yellow jessamine tends to thin out at the bottom when it reaches the top of a supporting structure. To avoid bare legs, so to speak, he has planted a clematis on the same trellis. When the early flowering jessamine is finished, he has lovely purple flowers on the lower area. He did remind us that yellow jessamine is highly toxic to humans and not something to you’d want to cover a playground fence with. Fortunately, he did give us ideas for that situation, too.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.