A plant mystery finally solved: jasminum mesnyi or Japanese jasmine

For the past five springs, during the time I’ve been so lucky to be living in Florence, I’ve seen this spectacular shrub or vine or whatever it is and wondered what it was. Was it in the rose family? I’ve seen it vining through the most spectacular locations: over walls, through lattice, draping over fences.

On a recent walk through a tony section of Florence, I was able to get up close and personal with the flowers shrubby thing, and to get some decent pictures of the blossoms.

With this closeup and my trusty PlantNet app, I could finally get to the bottom of my query: it is obviously the Jasminum mesnyi. Now how come you didn’t know that?

Wikipedia has some information:

“Jasminum mesnyi, the primrose jasmine or Japanese jasmine, is a species of flowering plant in the family Oleaceae, native to Vietnam and southern China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan). It is also reportedly naturalized in Mexico, Honduras and parts of the southern United States (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona) [and I can personally attest that it grows in Florence].

“Jasminum mesnyi is a scrambling evergreen shrub growing to 10 ft tall by 3–7 ft wide, with fragrant [the ones I’ve seen are not fragrant, believe me, I’ve sniffed any I could reach] yellow flowers in spring and summer. The form usually found in cultivation has semi-double flowers. It is not frost-hardy. With suitable support it can be grown as a slender climber, though in confined spaces it will require regular pruning.

“Jasminum mesnyi has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.”

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