En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 24, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: What is Carolina Jessamine in San Antonio?
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Okay, so if Gelsemium sempervirens is the one photographed by Joe Marcus in the "Explore Plants" section, then what is the actual name of the plant that is in every other yard in San Antonio, widely used as a hedge and commonly called nothing other than "Carolina Jessamine"? It has yellow flowers every spring, is home to many sparrows and smaller birds, is quite hardy and becomes a woody shrub up to 7-8 feet tall, is evergreen but with fewer leaves in winter, and propagates mostly where the branches root in the ground. Thanks!


Well, that sure sounds like an appropriate description of Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower); looks like it, too. There are almost always several common names for the plants in our Native Plant Database. If you follow the link above, you will see that "Carolina jessamine" is one of the common names for this one. Common names are always tripping Mr Smarty Plants up. What is called by one name in one part of the country is called something else in another part, or across the street. And the same common name can be assigned to totally unrelated plants. The plant is native to Texas, although more often found growing wild in the eastern part of the state.


And if Joe Marcus took that picture and identified that plant, you can trust me, that's what it is. He is not only our primo photographer but a plant identifier not to be messed with. 

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens




More Plant Identification Questions

Tentative identification of Viola sagittata
June 23, 2007 - I am trying to find name of wildflower, Violet growing in adjoning woods. I have not been able to find it on internet. The non-basal leaves are very irregular in shape, grow to six inches, no two ali...
view the full question and answer

Identification of purple flower near Ft. Worth
April 20, 2011 - I'm doing a Flower Project for my Biology class. My partner and I have found a flower that we cannot identify and neither can our teacher. I found it on Interstate 35 going through Ft. Worth, Texas. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
July 06, 2008 - I am trying to identify a small tree or large plant here in Indiana. I have seen it from 6 ft to as tall as 15 to 20. It is a green leaf with pink cone shaped growth at the ends of a branch. The co...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of flower in a bouquet
August 30, 2009 - My boyfriend bought a bouquet and I'd like to know the name of the kind of green flower that looks like a mum but the petals look like rich, full grass or like a tall shag carpet. It has a stem with ...
view the full question and answer

Mystery perennial in Clearfield, PA
July 07, 2009 - I have a perennial growing in my flower garden. I didn't plant extra seeds and don't know what it is..it has palm like leaves and long thin stem. It grows tall, maybe about 10 inches from the ground...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center