Bignonia capreolata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: cross vine 
Type: Vine
Family: Bignoniaceae
Native Range: Southern Ontario, eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 35.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 9.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Orange-red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade, but best flower production occurs in sun. Prune after flowering if needed. Above ground stems are not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where they may die to the ground in severe winters (roots are usually hardy therein and will sprout new growth the following spring). In St. Louis, it is best to plant this vine in a protected location and apply a winter mulch. Established plants may send up root suckers which should be removed if spread is not desired.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Bignonia capreolata, known as cross-vine, is a vigorous, woody vine that climbs by branched tendrils with adhesive disks. It is grown primarily for its attractive flowers and its ability to rapidly cover structures with attractive foliage. Opposite, compound leaves are bifoliate. Each leaf consists of a pair of lanceolate to oblong dark green leaflets (to 6” long) and a branched tendril between them. Tendril branches terminate in adhesive disks that easily attach to walls. Foliage remains evergreen in the South, but turns reddish-purple in fall with subsequent leaf drop in the colder winter areas of its range. Axillary clusters (2-5 flowered cymes) of fragrant, trumpet-shaped, orange-red flowers (to 2” long) appear in spring. Flowers are followed by greenish, pod-like seed capsules (to 7” long) which mature in late summer and persist into fall.

This vine is in the same family as and closely related to Campsis radicans which is commonly known as trumpet vine.

Genus name honors of Abbe Jean Paul Bignon (1662-1743), Librarian to Louis XIV.

Specific epithet means having tendrils.

A cross section of stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name.


No serious insect or disease problems.


A vigorous, fast-growing cover for fences, arbors, walls, pillars, large trellises and other structures. Also may be grown along the ground.