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(Jessamine family)


• Medicinal / Folk-medicinal aspects: The early literature describing the uses of crude drugs derived from Gelsemium Juss. species refers to some dermatological applications. However, these drugs have largely fallen out of use because of their high toxicity. •
• Adverse effects: •
• Veterinary aspects: •

This is family of 11 species of shrubs and vines in 2 genera (Gelsemium Juss. and Mostuea Didr.) found in tropical and warm temperate America, Africa, and Asia (Mabberley 2008). The plants were formerly classified in the Loganiaceae. Some authorities include a third genus comprising just one species, namely Pteleocarpa lamponga Heyne, a timber tree found in Indomalesia, this otherwise being classified in the Boraginaceae or in the Ehretiaceae.

The yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens J.St-Hil.), and to a lesser extent Rankin's or swamp jessamine (Gelsemium rankinii Small), are grown for their ornamental flowers (Hunt 1968/70), which in the former are particularly fragrant.

Gelsemium elegans Benth.
[syns Gelsemium sumatranum Boerl., Leptopteris sumatrana Blume, Medicia elegans Gardner & Champ.]

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Gelsemium sempervirens J.St-Hil.
[syns Bignonia sempervirens L., Gelsemium lucidum Poir., Gelsemium nitidum Michx., Lisianthius sempervirens Mill. ex Steud.]
Carolina Yellow Jessamine, Evening Trumpetflower, False Jasmine, Wild Woodbine, Gelber Jasmin, Jasmin Jaune

Many collectors of the root complain of its poisonous effects upon the skin (White 1887). The subsequent inclusion of Gelsemium sempervirens in lists of irritant plants, for example by Schwartz et al. (1957), probably relates to this early observation.

[Further information available but not yet included in database]


  • Hunt P (Ed.) (1968/70) The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Gardening. London: Marshall Cavendish [WorldCat]
  • Mabberley DJ (2008) Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses, 3rd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [WorldCat]
  • Schwartz L, Tulipan L, Birmingham DJ (1957) Irritant plants and woods. In: Occupational Diseases of the Skin. 3rd edn, pp. 636-672. London: Henry Kimpton [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • White JC (1887) Dermatitis Venenata: an account of the action of external irritants upon the skin. Boston: Cupples and Hurd [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • [ + 7 further references not yet included in database]

Richard J. Schmidt

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