Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Bignonia family (Bignoniaceae). Crossvine is a perennial, woody, semi-evergreen vine that can grow to be 17 m long. Tubers can grow to 10 cm in diameter. The stem is squarish and reddish-purple. Leaves are opposite, pinnately compound, and reduced to two basal leaflets and a branched tendril between them. Leaflets are 6-15 cm long, 2-7 cm wide and have smooth edges (entire), narrowly tapered tips (acuminate), and a notch at the base that makes them heart-shaped (cordate). The foliage turns from a lustrous green in the growing season to a reddish purple in the winter. Buds are reddish-purple and less than 1 cm long. Flowers are bell-shaped with orange on the outside and yellow inside, have 5 irregular lobes, and are 4-5 cm long. The fruit is a multi-seeded, flat capsule that is up to 15 cm long. Crossvine blooms from mid-March to mid-June and sets fruit in late summer.
Crossvine gets its name from the cross-shaped pith, as seen from a transverse section of the stem. Other key characteristics of crossvine include its opposite compound leaves with two leaflets and branched tendrils.
Distribution: Crossvine is native to the United States in the northeastern, north central, south central, and southeastern regions. It is found from southern Ontario, south to Florida, west to Texas and Illinois. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site (http://plants.usda.gov).
Habitat: Crossvine is found in rich forests and swamps and along roadsides and fencerows.