Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Backyard Nature Wednesday: Crossvine

Crossvine is a native perennial vine that is a member of the trumpet-creeper family (Bignoniaceae). It grows in the woods in many of the eastern parts of the United States, including in east Texas and occasionally to westernmost central Texas. It is a robust woody vine that can climb up to 50 feet due to its tendrils which have claws at the tips, enabling the vine to catch and hold on.

In the spring, it produces masses of brilliant flowers in shades of orange. The leaves are glossy dark green in summer and turn reddish after frost. In areas of mild winters, such as southeast Texas, the vines keep their leaves through winter and once the weather warms up it is ready to grow and produce flowers.

Like many native plants, this one has been cultivated by horticulturists and new varieties created. I grow one of them in my backyard.

This is 'Tangerine Beauty' and it is well-named for it is a beauty, and, at this time of year, the vine is completely covered in these blossoms.




Native Americans historically found many medicinal uses for crossvine. They used it as a remedy for diphtheria, edema, headaches, and rheumatism. Today, we grow it just for its beauty or to provide shade when planted on an arbor. It is also very attractive to hummingbirds and various pollinators.

This is a great plant with many useful and beautiful qualities. If there is any downside to it, it is simply that it may be too robust for the space allotted to it in the garden. It grows rampantly and creates suckers that may encroach outside of where the gardener wants it to grow, but these are easily pulled up to keep the plants in bounds.

6 comments:

  1. A great vine - I have a couple growing on an arbor and the mass quantities of flowers in spring is so pretty as well as the fact that the leaves stay green throughout winter. You are right, it can be pretty aggressive and I have to cut it back at least twice a year to keep it from spreading on to the roof of my house. But it's worth it for the show!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. I always look forward to its spring bloom. It raises my spirits every time I look at it!

      Delete
  3. This is so pretty! I love the color.

    ReplyDelete