Carolina Jessamine

From Manteo to Murphy, you can spot Carolina Jessamine snaking its way up tree trunks and tumbling over fences this time of year. There’s so much of it you’d think it’s invasive, but it isn’t. The yellow beauty is a native that flourishes in the Carolina sunshine.

Carolina Jessamine is cultivated in various colors, but I’m partial to the yellow variety. It’s the one that reminds me of walking through the pastures to check on the cows with Mamaw and Papaw or playing in the woods beside my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Even better: it brings to mind dozens of hikes with Bug and Belle.

The sight of yellow jessamine makes me smile, but I’m careful to give it a wide berth. All parts of the plant are toxic to humans, and the sap causes skin irritation in some (which is the last thing my hyper-sensitive skin needs). Many folks around here aren’t scared off by the poisonous trumpet, though. Carolina Jessamine is as common growing over arbors in sunny yards as it is wild on the roadsides.

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