Climbing Dogbane - American Star Jasmine
Trachelospermum difforme - (Walter) Pichon
Apocynaceae (Dogbane) Family


Photo courtesy Duke University, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  Climbing Dogbane is an uncommon deciduous low-growing woody vine of the eastern United States. Its preferred habitat is moist areas and thicket underbrush. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region. This southeastern native is the only representative of the genus Trachelospermum in the United States, although its close relative, the high-climbing evergreen Confederate Jasmine, T. jasminoides, is commonly used as a garden climber.

The leaves are opposite and similar to those of Carolina Jessamine, but slightly broader, not as thick, and exude a milky sap when crushed. Each leaf is placed opposite another of equal size and structure on a reddish stem. The leaf form is extremely variable, hence the Latin name difforme. Upper leaves are usually lance-like, sharp-pointed and slightly pinched at the tip. Lower leaves are elliptic. The sap that exudes from the leaf and stem is poisonous.

The sterile flowers are creamy-white to yellow with five reflexed petals. The hair-lined funnel is streaked with red.

Although the plant produces fruit in a reddish seed pod (follicle) that is very long and thin, the seeds are sterile and new growth is set from root cuttings or transplants.

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