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Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens is a twining vine in the family Gelsemiaceae, native to warm temperate and tropical America from Guatemala north to the Southeastern United States. It has a number of common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine,[1][2] Carolina jasmine or jessamine,[1][2] evening trumpetflower,[2][3] gelsemium[2] and woodbine.[2]

Growth[edit]

It can grow to 3–6 m high when given suitable climbing support in trees, with thin stems. The leaves are evergreen, lanceolate, 5–10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm broad, and lustrous, dark green. The flowers are borne in clusters, the individual flowers yellow, sometimes with an orange center, trumpet-shaped, 3 cm long and 2.5–3 cm broad. Its flowers are strongly scented and produce nectar that attracts a range of pollinators.

Medical use[edit]

Historically Gelsemium sempervirens was used as a topical to treat papulous eruptions. It was also used to treat measles, neuralgic otalgia, tonsillitis, esophagitis, dysmenorrhea, muscular rheumatism, headaches.[4]

Toxicity[edit]

All parts of this plant contain the toxic strychnine-related alkaloids gelsemine and gelseminine and should not be consumed.[5] The sap may cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. Children, mistaking this flower for honeysuckle, have been poisoned by sucking the nectar from the flower.[6] The nectar is also toxic to honeybees,[7] which may cause brood death when gathered by the bees. The nectar may, however, be beneficial to bumblebees. It has been shown that bees fed on gelsemine have a reduced load of Crithidia bombi in their fecal mater. Reduced parasite load increases foraging efficiency, and pollinators may selectively collect otherwise toxic secondary metabolites as a means of self-medication.[8]

Despite the hazards, this is a popular garden plant in warmer areas, frequently being trained to grow over arbors or to cover walls.

Yellow Jessamine is the state flower of South Carolina.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gelsemium sempervirens". Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. University of South Florida. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Taxon: Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) J. St.-Hil.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Beltsville, MD, USA: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  3. ^ "Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) W. T. Aiton". Plants database. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  4. ^ Winterburn, G. W. (1882). "Gelsemium sempervirens (therapeutics section)". Transactions of the National Eclectic Medical Association. Henriettes Herbal. 
  5. ^ "Gelsemium sempervirens". Drug Information Online. Drugs.com. 
  6. ^ Anthony Knight and Richard Walter. 2001. A Guide to Plant Poisoning of Animals in North America.
  7. ^ [1] "Nectar Gardening for Butterflies, Honey Bees and Native Bees", Retrieved 2012-08-02
  8. ^ Manson, J.S., Otterstatter, M.C., Thomson, J.D. "Consumption of a nectar alkaloid reduces pathogen load in bumble bees". 27 August 2009: Oecologia 162:81-89. Retrieved 2013

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