Campsis radicans (L.) Seem. ex Bureau
Trumpet creeper, Trumpet vine, Common trumpet creeper, Cow vine
Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper Family)
Synonym(s): Bignonia radicans, Tecoma radicans
USDA Symbol: cara2
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Lanceolate , Obovate , Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cordate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Size Notes: 25-35 ft.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers 3-4 inches long
Fruit: Brown 3-5 inches
Size Class: 12-36 ft. , 36-72 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Usually reddish orange. Yellow cultivars have been produced.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Eastern North America from Ontario and NY down to FL and eastern TX, northwest to the Dakotas
Native Habitat: In trees of moist woods or along fence rows in old fields.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Various well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Blooms most in full sun.
BenefitUse Ornamental: The plant is frequently cultivated because of its large clusters of attractive, bright red flowers. Several cultivars have been developed, including yellow-flowered varieties and a cross with the Asian species, Campsis grandiflora, which has broader flowers but is less hardy than our native species.
Use Wildlife: Pollinated by hummingbirds and long tongued bees.
Warning: The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation on contact.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Larval Host: Trumpet Vine Sphinx Moth (Paratraea plebeja)
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Campsis radicans is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Plebeian sphinx |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Cuttings , Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: Take 3-4 inch, new growth semi-hardwood cuttings from May through October. Root cuttings of strong parts of current seasons root growth also used, but require more treatment.
Seed Collection: Gather ripe capsules when they turn brown but before they dry and split open (between 2-3 months after flowering). Remove seeds from pod, air dry, and store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify 30-60 days at 41-50 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: To keep lush during droughts, water deeply on occasion. Mow to keep it from expanding beyond defined areas. Cut back branches to two buds in the winter to encourage bushier growth and more blooms.
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
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I recently purchased seeds for Scarlet Wisteria (Chinese rattlebox tree). I spoke to a neighbor about this and she warned me not to plant them as they were poisonous to hummingbirds. Can you clarify...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0457 Collected Jun 15, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
BibliographyBibref 1255 - Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants (2009) Tallamy, Douglas W.
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 481 - How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Revised and Updated Edition (2001) Nokes, J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.3 - Hummingbird Gardening, Blooms Beget Butterflies, Butterflies and Hummingbirds Fo...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Campsis radicans in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Campsis radicans in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Campsis radicans
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG