Common Name
Jessamine, Carolina jessamine, yellow jessamine
Botanic Name
Gelsemium sempervirens
Plant Family
Wooded areas, fence lines, and as an ornamental
Prefers warmer climates of the southern States
Animals Affected
All animals including birds that may eat the plant
Carolina jessamine
Toxic Principle
A variety of alkaloids (gelsemine)are found in all parts of the plant, especially in the roots. The alkaloids act on nerve endings causing paralysis, muscle weakness, and clonic convulsions. At high doses the alkaloids act centrally on the nervous system against gamma amino benzoic acid (GABA) causing convulsions and respiratory failure.
An evergreen, twining or trailing, perennial, with lanceolate to elliptic, shiny, green leaves with solitary, or clusters of 2-5 flowers. The flowers are showy fragrant, trumpet-shaped, bright yellow with 5 sepals and 5 fused petals. Fruits are ovoid capsules with a short beak. The seeds are brown, flattened, and generally winged.
There is no specific treament. Supportive care including sedation to relieve convulsions, and activated charcoal orally via stomach tube to decrease absorbtion of the alkaloids
Respiratory System
Difficulty in breathing
Nervous System
Muscle tremors, weakness, convulsions, death
Special Notes
Carolina jessamine should not be planted in or around livestock enclosures
Carolina jessamine flowers