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?

Share

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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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

Identification of plant known as mosquito plant (Agastache cana)
October 11, 2007 - I received some seeds from an annual plant that came from Bowie, Tx. It has square stems, like mint plants, medium size leaves turns purple when in the sun and had a strong odor when brushed against. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 10, 2009 - Please try to identify a shrub growing beside a country road in Van Zandt Co this month. It had tiny, slender cone shaped fruit or "flowers" along the branches. The leaves are dark green, about 1 i...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming orange bell plant
June 15, 2008 - My orange bell plant is not blooming. I live in Central Texas where it is hot. The plant has part sun, part shade. Is there any way to help it bloom?
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub in South Carolina
December 12, 2011 - First, I'm in Iraq but trying to write a book and have a question on a plant that grows in South Carolina. All I can do is describe it. The bush is normally green but turns red, has large leaves, kin...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center