Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 8, Issue 3
   March 2013
 
   Interesting Reads
 
 
Excerpt from The Wildflowers of Canada, Algrove Publishing, 2001
 
PLATE 146.

YELLOW OR CAROLINA JESSAMINE. GELSEMIUM SEMPERVIRENS. (LOGANIA FAMILY.)
 
Climbing, somewhat shrubby, quite smooth; stem slender, branching, leafy; leaves opposite, short-petioled, ovate, acute, rounded at base, the upper surface shining; flowers in rather dense, short-peduncled, axillary clusters; corolla large, campanulate-funnel-form, five-lobed; stamens five, anthers arrow-shaped; style filiform, bearing two-lobed stigmas.
 
"The soft, warm night wind flutters
Up from the dim lagoon,
While the timorous shadows hide them
From the red new-risen moon;
The scent of the jasmine lingers
Like a languorous pain divine,
Till the night-moth reels in its fragrance,
Drunken as if with wine.
Oh, jasmine fair!
Oh, southern night most rare!"

—Arlo Bates.
  Yellow or Carolina Jessamine
 
Grace and elegance are personified in the Yellow Jessamine. It is one of the most superb of the wild flowers. The high-climbing stems with their dark-green, shining leaves and clusters of showy yellow blossoms are a meet garland for the flowery woods and swamps of the Southern Atlantic and Gulf States. Added to its other charms, the Yellow Jessamine has exquisite fragrance. It is not a true Jessamine at all, the Gelsemium, though its botanical name is a latinization of the Italian for Jessamine. It is almost an evergreen. The handsome flowers are among the first to open,—in March and April. Yet, at that time, the fields and pine woods of the South are bright with color. There is no lack of pink blossoms, and blue and white, to add to the beauty of contrast to the Gelsemium's.

The Yellow Jessamine belongs to a family renowned for the virulency of the poison in their juices. In North America the Pink-Root, a beautiful plant let it be said, maintains the evil reputation of the family. But in the East Indies are those deadly trees, the species of Strychnos, whose seeds are known as Nux Vomica and St. Ignatius' Bean.
 
     
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