Confederate Jasmine has a bit of trickery up its sleeve. Despite the name, it isn't likely to give you a political speech and isn't really jasmine -- though it smells just as lovely. To clear things up: Confederate (or Star) Jasmine actually refers to its origins, concerning a federation of states in the Malaysian chain. And simply enough, the aromatic flowers produced in the summer months by this spectacular vine smell much like jasmine and are still used in perfumes, oils and incense.
Flickr photo by Pottymouth
This woody, evergreen vine is native to southeast Asia (zones 8-10) but can thrive just as well in the southeastern U.S. (zone 7). Outside of warmer regions, it can also make a fine indoor specimen. Although it can be quite tenacious and climb up to 30 feet during a single season quickly overtaking walls and garages, this annual can simply be removed in the fall. Its ability to grow and spread quickly can also be advantageous as it can rapidly cover up your neighbor's boring fence, trunks of mature trees and any other backyard garden dirty secret that needs a quick cover-up. Likewise, its dense growth also makes it a candidate to be clipped into shape. Conveniently, its fast growth is not matched by its spread and dispersal. Outside of its native habitat (which is quickly vanishing), Confederate Jasmine lacks a pollinator and cannot produce viable seeds.
You will often find cut Confederate Jasmine vines used in fresh cut floral, so feel free to incorporate the greens and the flowers to create fantastic gifts, bouquets or just fragrant arrangements around the home. They're as beautiful inside as they are out. Be on the look out for Confederate Jasmine as they're sure to be the next star of your garden!