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It is a twining vine in the family Gelsemiaceae. 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.
It is native to warm temperate and tropical America from Guatemala north to the Southeastern United States. This one was photographed at the edge of a deciduous forest in the midlands of South Carolina.
It has a number of common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine, Carolina jasmine or jessamine, evening trumpetflower, gelsemium and woodbine. 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. All parts of this plant contain the toxic strychnine-related alkaloids gelsemine and gelseminine and should not be consumed. 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. The nectar is also toxic to honeybees, and causes brood death when gathered by the bees.