This is a fragrant time of year in Louisiana. Two of our most sweetly scented flowers are blooming, Gardenia and Star Jasmine.
There are over 200 varieties of gardenia in a wide variety of sizes that are available for landscaping. As pictured above, we have several types thriving in our backyard. The scientific name for gardenia is Gardenia jasminoides; it is also called Cape Jasmine. However, it is actually in the family of coffee plants, Rubiaceae, while true jasmine is in the olive family, Oleaceae. Gardenia is native to SE Asia, and is now used worldwide in gardens in temperate to subtropical climates.
Trachelospermum jasminoides has several common names; Star Jasmine, Confederate Jasmine, Asiatic Jasmine and several others. However this plant is not truly jasmine either. It is in the family Apocynaceae, a family known as “dogbane” because several members in it are poisonous to dogs. In our area Star Jasmine vines are commonly used to climb over residential fences.
Eastern Band-Winged Hover Fly on Gardenia bloom
The “Insect ID” app identifies the insect on this gardenia bloom as a Eastern Band-winged hover Fly, Ocyptamus fascipennis. Hoverflies have mimicked the body shape of wasps and hornets, but are actually harmless. They are beneficial to garden plants because they feed on aphids and serve as pollinators.