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Trumpet Flower Bignonia capreolata

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Trumpet Flower:

Previously known as:

  • Anisostichus capreolata
  • Anisostichus crucigera
Phonetic Spelling
big-NO-nee-uh kap-ree-oh-LAH-tuh
Description

Bignonia capreolata climbs by using tendrils to wrap around stems or bark to support the vine as it grows up tall objects like fences or pine trees.  A cross-section of stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name.  In North Carolina, the plant is usually a dark, glossy green; however, in colder areas of its growing range, the leaves take on a reddish-purple color. 

This vine is native to the southeastern United States in USDA hardiness zones 6 – 9.  It can be found growing native in many soil types, and usually up other trees such as pines. In the wild, it is found in swampy forests and woodlands. It tolerates a wide variety of conditions, including coastal conditions, but prefers an organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun.  Cross vine will grow well in shade to full sun, with better flower production the more sunlight it receives. Cross vine would make a great addition to a colonial-style garden and many cultivars, such as 'Tangerine Beauty,' are available. 

The flowers bloom in late winter to early spring on new wood in clusters of 2 to 5 flowers.  The flower color can range from orange and yellow to a reddish-orange color. This early bloom season provides a nice stopping point for hummingbirds in the area. The flowers are followed by greenish, pod-like seed capsules (to 7” long) which mature in late summer and persist into fall.  Its bark is gray-brown and finely scaled with longitudinal splits. Above ground stems may not be winter hardy in USDA Zone 5 and below. In severe winters, the vine may die to the ground, but the roots are usually hardy enough to survive and will sprout new growth the following spring.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

There are no major pests of Cross vine. However, the vine itself may become a problem. It spreads both by seeds as well as by root suckers. To prevent the vine from spreading to areas where it isn’t wanted, pull up the root suckers as they are spotted.

Fire Risk: 

This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Astrosanguinea'
  • 'Jekyll'
  • 'Tangerine Beauty' - JC Raulston Arboretum Selection
    cultivated variety selected for deeper flower color
  • 'Velcy'
'Astrosanguinea', 'Jekyll', 'Tangerine Beauty' - JC Raulston Arboretum Selection, 'Velcy'
Tags:
#cultivars#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#full sun#orange#wildlife plant#medicinal#orange flowers#winter interest#apvg#playground#coastal#ncemgva2018#food source#fast growing#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#beavers#deer resistant#children's garden#native garden#native vine#pollinator plant#food source summer#food source nectar#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fall color yellow#colonial#butterfly friendly#apvg-vg#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Astrosanguinea'
  • 'Jekyll'
  • 'Tangerine Beauty' - JC Raulston Arboretum Selection
    cultivated variety selected for deeper flower color
  • 'Velcy'
'Astrosanguinea', 'Jekyll', 'Tangerine Beauty' - JC Raulston Arboretum Selection, 'Velcy'
Tags:
#cultivars#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#full sun#orange#wildlife plant#medicinal#orange flowers#winter interest#apvg#playground#coastal#ncemgva2018#food source#fast growing#cpp#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#beavers#deer resistant#children's garden#native garden#native vine#pollinator plant#food source summer#food source nectar#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fall color yellow#colonial#butterfly friendly#apvg-vg#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bignonia
    Species:
    capreolata
    Family:
    Bignoniaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant was used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Onterio and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Southern Ontario, Eastern US
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, white-tailed deer and beavers eat the foliage.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    heavy shade
    Climbing Method:
    Clinging
    Tendrils
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 9 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    greenish, pods (to 7” long) which mature in late summer and persist into fall
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers bloom in late winter to early spring on new wood in clusters of 2 to 5 flowers. The flower color can range from orange and yellow to a reddish-orange color.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Waxy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The cross vine climbs by using tendrils to wrap around stems or bark to support the vine as it grows up tall objects like fences or pine trees. The tendrils are part of a very unique evergreen leaf system. The leaves are opposite, compound with two leaflets (this is the unique part as most compound leaves have 3 or more leaflets) and one tendril on each petiole (leaf stem).
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    gray-brown and finely scaled with longitudinal splits
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    A cross section of stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Drought
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Weedy