Trumpet Creeper

Campsis radicans

Bignoniaceae - Trumpet Creeper Family

Trumpet creeper, a deciduous, semi-woody vine that is notable for its terminal clusters of tubular, trumpet-shaped orange flowers, is also known as “cow itch vine”. The vine can grow up to 30’ tall with its main stem about 7’’ wide. The leaves are ovate and pinnate, 1’’ to 5’’ long.1 They are emerald green when new, maturing into a dark green.2 The flowers are usually 3’’ long, blooming from June to September.1
There are two species. One is native to woodlands and riverbanks of the southeastern United States and is called simply trumpet creeper (or trumpet vine); the other is native to China and Japan, and is called the Chinese trumpet creeper.4 It is a popular perennial plant as some cultivars are hardy to as low as -30°F/-34°C.1 In warm weather, it puts out huge numbers of tendrils that grab onto every available surface, and eventually expand into heavy woody stems several centimeters in diameter.
Because of its magnificent flowers, they are the major food of hummingbirds. Trumpet creeper depends on these animals to pollinate its flowers. Many types of birds like to nest in the dense foliage.3 The flowers produce large seedpods. Each pod is packed with hundreds of thin, brown, paper-like seeds. These lightweight seeds are wind dispersed.1

References and Useful Websites:
1 Fairfax County Public Schools - Ecology Pages
2 VTree ID - Virgina Tech University
3 Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History

This page was prepared by Shangran Zhu, BIO 102, Fall 2011

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