In 1924, the state flower of South Carolina was named yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens). Other common names for this plant are trumpet vine, evening trumpet flower, and yellow and Carolina jasmine. Yellow jessamine is a robust, evergreen flowering vine native to the Southeast--It is attractive yet all parts of the plant are poisonous.
Jessamine is an evergreen vine that may be found all across the state, climbing trees, fences, and latticework. It blooms in late winter or early spring, heralding the arrival of warmer weather! Given enough space and wet, well-drained soil, this flower thrives in the sun and can develop rather quickly. They can cause an allergic reaction when touched, and eating them can be dangerous. Make sure you don't confuse them with flowers like honeysuckle, which have delicious, non-harmful nectar.
Carolina jessamine was chosen not only for its beauty and sweet fragrance, but also because it grows all over South Carolina and "its delicate flower suggests the purity 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" (quote from South Carolina legislature).
The South Carolina quarter also features yellow jessamine. When the United States Mint decided to issue quarters for each state, it was determined that Yellow Jessamine, together with the palmetto tree and the Carolina Wren, would appear on South Carolina's quarter.
The essential oils of the Yellow jessamine plant are extracted for use in the perfume industry since the pleasant odor is difficult to reproduce synthetically. Herbalists have used yellow jessamine to heal eye diseases and as natural, fragrant hair oil.
Interested in seeing what your state's official flower is? Check out our blog post on the 50 Official State Flowers of America!
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