Is Confederate Jasmine Really Confederate?

We’re in an era of removing anything ‘Confederate’ that we can. Confederate Jasmine seems a likely candidate. Trouble is, it’s not jasmine and has absolutely nothing to do with the Confederacy.

                This delightfully scented flower is common in the American Southeast. It has a number of different names, including Star jasmine. It is an immigrant, not a native. It is a member of the family Trachelospermum, and is native to Southeast Asia. True jasmines belong to the family Jasminum.

                The name comes from British colonies in the plants’ natural range. The British took over a number of small statelets in what is now Malaysia. The statelets were formed into a political entity called the Federated Malay States. The Federation lasted from 1895 to 1946, and eventually evolved into today’s nation of Malaysia.

                Confederate jasmine was imported into the USA from there, and acquired its name from the Federation. The flower, actually a vine, quickly became widely spread after it was imported. It is widely assumed that Confederate jasmine is a native flower.

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