Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Gelsemium sempervirens Ait.

Borderline half hardy, vigorous, slender, twining perennial with stems that spiral anti-clockwise, narrow glossy leaves, to 5cm long, and clusters, to 8cm across, of fragrant yellow flowers, to 3cm long, with darker throats, in spring and summer.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘It is remarkable that so handsome a greenhouse climber, and one that has been so long in cultivation, should not have been figured in any modern English horticultural work.  It was introduced into England by Tradescant, was cultivated by Parkinson in his garden in Long Acre in 1640, and figured in his “Theatrum Botanicum” in the same year.  The genus Gelsemium was founded in 1789 by Jussieu, on Bignonia sempervirens, Linn., the Gelsemium, sive minum, &c., of Parkinson, the name being derived from the Italian for Jessamine.  In 1803 Michaux published it as G. nitidum, and in 1786 Poiret as G. lucidum, and Aiton in 1811 as G. sempervirens.  The only other known species is G. elegans, Benth., a native of Burma and China.  G. sempervirens is a common plant in the woods and low grounds of the Southern United States, from Virginia to Florida, and westward to Texas and Southern Mexico.  Bentley and Trimen include it in their ” Medicinal Plants,” where the dried stems and roots prepared by the Shakers of New Lebanon are stated to be in common use in America as a sedative.  The drug in large doses poisons by asphyxia.  It is not recognized in the British Pharmacopoeia.’  [BM t.7851/1902]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.513/1857].


Published Mar 17, 2009 - 03:55 PM | Last updated Mar 21, 2010 - 12:47 PM

Shown are the narrow glossy leaves and clusters of yellow flowers with darker throats. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.7851, 1902.

Gelsemium sempervirens Ait. | BM t.7851/1902 | BHL

Family Loganiaceae
Region of origin

Southern USA, Central America



  • Gelsemium nitidum Michx.
  • Bignonia sempervirens L.
Common Name

Carolina jasmine, Evening trumpet, False yellow jasmine

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gelsemium sempervirens 

Confidence level high