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Cross Vine, Trumpet Flower, Crossvine, Quarter Vine - Bignonia capreolata

Family: Bignoniaceae - Bignonia family Genus Common Name: Crossvine Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Vine
Bignonia capreolata - Cross Vine, Trumpet Flower, Crossvine, Quarter Vine. Bignonia capreolata and the Bignoniaceae family are named for French ecclesiastic Jean-Paul Bignon. Bignonia is monotypic - a single species in the genus - although some authorities consider there to be over 20 species in the genus, including species from other genera such as Campsis and Dolichandra. While there are herbs and shrubs in the Bignoniaceae family, most of the several hundred species in the family are trees or vines. Bignonia capreolata is one of the vines - a liana, a woody vine as opposed to an herbaceous vine. Six species in the family are found in the United States, three of which are lianas, three are trees. It is normally a plant of lower elevations, usually wet areas, but it can be found occasionally in mesic forests of the lower elevations on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the photos on this page was taken in the Smoky Mountains.

Cross Vine gets its common name from the appearance of the cross-section of the vine. This vine usually grows high into trees in swamps and bottomland forest, but can also be found in drier areas in much reduced size.

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Bignonia capreolata

Distribution of Bignonia capreolata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 25 Feb 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Cedar Glade, Pigeon Mountain East, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-07Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Cross Vine is somewhat similar in appearance to Trumpet Creeper - Campsis radicans, which is also in the Bignoniaceae family. The bicolored flower of Cross Vine easily sets it apart from Trumpet Creeper when they are in bloom, and Cross Vine has tendrils while Trumpet Creeper does not. Both plants climb, sometimes high into trees. There are some cultivars of this species which have colors other than the maroon / orange of the wild plant.

(Note: The toothed leaves in this photo are those of the host tree, not of the Cross Vine.
Bignonia capreolata

Site: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Chestnut Top Trail, Blount County, TN Date: 2015-May-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The tendrils of the vine allow Cross Vine to climb as high as 50 feet into trees. The flowers grow in clusters along the vine. The leaves are in pairs of leaflets that are up to 6 inches long, along with a terminal branched tendril.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Bignonia capreolata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2018
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer