Cestrum diurnum

Day jessamine

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 2

Species Overview

Native to: Tropical America

Day jessamine was introduced into Florida before the 1930s as an ornamental shrub. This species has escaped from cultivation and has naturalized in many regions where it grows as individual plants or in thickets. Day jessamine is widely planted for its fragrant flowers, which are produced year-round.

Species Characteristics

  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Habit: evergreen branching shrub or small tree to 2.5 m tall
  • Leaves: alternate, elliptic-oblong or oblong-ovate, mostly 5-10 cm long and to 2.5 cm wide, medium green, glossy, paler beneath
  • Flowers: small (1-1.5 cm) tubular, very fragrant flowers (mildly fragrant in daytime and the fragrance intensifies in the evening) borne in clusters
  • Fruit: small purple to black ovoid berries dispersed by birds; fruits are poisonous to humans and other mammals
  • Seeds: 4-14 seeds contained in each fruit
  • Distribution in Florida: central and south


Day jessamine can be found invading hammocks and disturbed habitats in central and south Florida. May be confused with malberry (Ardisia escallonoides), a similar-looking native shrub. Seeds are readily dispersed by birds.

The UF/IFAS Assessment lists day jessamine as a species of caution (must be managed to prevent escape) and FLEPPC lists it as a Category ll invasive species.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Avoid planting day jessamine to prevent it from escaping and invading nearby natural areas.  Native alternatives to day jessamine for use in home landscaping include coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and wild allamanda (Pentalinon luteum). 


Hand pull or dig out seedlings and saplings when possible.


Small infestations can be dug out.


There are no known biological control agents for day jessamine.

  • Cut stump: 50% Garlon 3A
  • Basal bark: 10% Garlon 4

Learn more about this species

  1. Atlas of Florida Plants
  2. UF/IFAS Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
  3. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service- Plants Database
  4. EDIS Publication-Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida
  5. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
  6. View herbarium images from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects