Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crossvine

Bignonia capreolata 'Tangerine Beauty'
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
2011

Beautiful native vine, beloved nectaring flower of migrating hummingbirds, and host plant to sphinx moths, crossvine is a good choice for sunny or partly-shaded spots in the southern garden.

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) is versatile, tolerating a wide range of growing conditions.  Sun, part sun, full shade, dry/moist, acid/lime--any will do, though it will flower best in sun and rich soil.  It can be grown on trees,  arbors, trellises, or walls, of course, but it can be used as a ground cover as well; mowing will keep it in shape.

Crossvine gets its name from the cross shape that appears in the pith of a cross-section of stem.  This plant is sometimes called "trumpet vine", though in the south, we normally reserve that name for Campsis radicans.  It always helps to use scientific names!

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A dead tree that had been cut to approximately 12 feet tall supports the plant pictured above.  This helps keep the flowers in a better viewing range than if they were allowed to grow to the top of a tall, branched tree, and the rotting wood provides food and habitat for many types of wildlife.  Dead trees don't always need to be removed!  Take a look at this article by the National Wildlife Federation on Attracting Wildlife with Dead Trees.

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