The state flower for South Carolina is the Yellow Jessamine, also known as the Carolina Jasmine or trumpet vine. This beautiful yellow flower blooms in early spring and has a strong fragrance. When I smell this flower blooming, I know spring is coming. The vine grows up trees, along power lines, over mailboxes, and if there is nothing to grow on, it seems to bush up and grow on itself.
The Yellow Jessamine is found in all parts of the state, and that may be one reason it was chosen as the state flower. Native Americans used a Jasmine extract to reduce cramping, deaden pain and to purify blood. They warned though that swallowing even a single flower can cause death by paralysis. This cheerful spring flower is highly poisonous, so be careful!
The alkaloids that cause all this trouble are also found in the nectar of the flower, and yet many bees and butterflies visit these flowers every day. They pollinate the plant and drink the nectar without trouble. This is a perfect example of a wild plant that is safe for at least some wildlife but is not safe for humans. Just because a bee can drink the nectar doesn’t mean we should!