This native, tendril climbing, woody vine reaching 50 ft. long with showy, orange-red, trumpet shaped, unscented flowers 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches across which hang in clusters of two to five. They can be see on fences, telephone poles and in my case our windmill. Leaves are opposite, 4-6 inches long by 2 inches wide, with a third leaflet-tendril. Glossy, semi-evergreen leaves change from dark green in summer to reddish- purple in winter.
Crossvine prefers full sun and moist, acidic, well-drained soils for best flowering. It is adaptable to other soil conditions, including poorly drained soils. After last summer you’ll be glad to know they are drought tolerant when established.
The tubular flowers and large quantities of nectar produced by crossvine are highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Crossvine are highly deer resistant.
Native Americans used crossvine as a remedy for numerous health ailments. An infusion of leaves was used to purify blood. Decoctions of leaves were used for rheumatism. Decoctions of mashed bark were used to alleviate edema and headaches. Individuals with diphtheria gargled a mashed root infusion.
Crossvine can spread quickly by root suckers and become a problem but can be kept in place with some aggressive pruning . Propagation is simple with cuttings and can be rooted at any time of the year but June/ July is recommended. You can also start them with seed with no pre- treatment.
Some varieties: ‘Tangerine Beauty’ has orange flowers with yellow throats and blooms more profusely. ‘Dragon Lady’ is more drought tolerant.