Trumpet Creeper

Ron Russell

Newport, United States

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Canon SX40 HS
Found behind the parking lot of an office complex in Crestview HIlls, KY. U.S.A.

Campsis radicans (L.) Seem. ex Bureau
Trumpet creeper, Trumpet vine, Common trumpet creeper, Cow vine
Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper Family)
Synonyms: Bignonia radicans, Tecoma radicans
USDA Symbol: CARA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A high-climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine to 35 ft., climbing or scrambling over everything in its path by aerial rootlets. The pinnately compound leaves with 4 to 6 pairs of leaflets and a terminal one on an axis up to 12 inches long. Leaflets dark green on the upper surface, lighter on the lower, broadly to narrowly ovate, with coarse teeth, an elongate tip, and a rounded to wedge shaped base, the blade extending along the petiolule (leaflet stem) to its base. Flowers showy, waxy, broadly trumpet shaped, up to 3 1/2 inches long, orange to reddish orange, clustered at the ends of branches, appearing throughout the summer. Fruit a pod up to 6 inches long with 2 ridges running lengthwise, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, and roughly round in cross section.

Native to eastern North America as far north as New York and Ontario, this vine is often cultivated for its attractive, reddish orange flowers and can escape cultivation, sometimes colonizing so densely it seems a nuisance, particularly in the southeast, where its invasive qualities have earned it the names Hellvine and Devils Shoestring. Its rapid colonization by suckers and layering makes it useful for erosion control, however, and its magnificent flowers never fail to attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds within its range. Adapted to eastern forests, Trumpet creeper grows tall with support. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets, which, like English Ivy, can damage wood, stone, and brick. To keep it in check, plant it near concrete or an area that you can mow; mowing down the suckers will discourage them. Fairly drought tolerant within its range. Blooms most in full sun.

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