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Decumaria barbara (Decumaria)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Decumaria barbara

Decumaria barbara L.

Decumaria, Climbing Hydrangea, Woodvamp

Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea Family)


USDA Symbol: DEBA4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A woody vine to 30 ft., attaching by rootlets, with smooth, shiny, round to oval, deciduous leaves and fragrant flowers in flat-topped terminal clusters. Individual flowers are small and pale white with numerous stamens, held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface. The subsequent fruiting capsules are urn-shaped.

Unlike some forest vines, it maintains full leaf coverage from shady ground to sunny canopy, with glossy, dark green foliage providing an airy backdrop to the ethereal white blooms. Though it can be used as both a trailing groundcover and a climber, it will only bloom when climbing, and then only on new wood. Great for moist Southeastern gardens with seasonal flooding.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Climber, up to about 30 feet long.
Leaf: Dark, glossy green. Fall color is white and green.
Flower: Flowers 2 to 4 inches across
Fruit: Tan 1/4 inch

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Blooms on new wood. Will only bloom when climbing, not when trailing on the ground. Flowers held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface.


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , NY , SC , TN , VA
Native Distribution: S.e. VA, s. to FL & LA
Native Habitat: Low woods, swamps, river banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Climbing hydrangea can be used as a ground cover, a high climber on trees, or a cover for ledges & rock outcrops, though it will only bloom when climbing. It is well-suited to moist situations.


Propagation Material: Softwood Cuttings
Description: Softwood cuttings are best, as it can take many years to bloom when started from seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Vines for shade in North-Central Georgia
August 07, 2009
I am looking for something to hide a 6' wood fence that will grow in almost full shade. I have an area approx 2 feet wide to plant in. Since the fence and planting areas are stepped -- about 8 feet f...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Decumaria barbara in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Decumaria barbara in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Decumaria barbara


Record Modified: 2023-04-05
Research By: TWC Staff

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