Campsis radicans

Trumpet vine
Trumpet vine flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Bignoniaceae
Genus: Campsis
Species: C. radicans
Binomial name
Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans (trumpet vine[2] or trumpet creeper,[2] also known in North America as cow itch vine[3] or hummingbird vine[4]), is a species of flowering plant of the family Bignoniaceae, native to the eastern United States and naturalized in parts of the western United States as well as in Ontario, parts of Europe, and scattered locations in Latin America.[1][5] Growing to 10 m (33 ft), it is a vigorous, deciduous woody vine, notable for its showy trumpet-shaped flowers. It inhabits woodlands and riverbanks, and is also a popular garden subject.

Typical leaf


The leaves are opposite, ovate, pinnate, 3–10 cm long, and emerald green when new, maturing into a dark green. The flowers come in terminal cymes of 4–12, orange to red in color with a yellowish throat, and generally appear after several months of warm weather.


The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, and many types of birds like to nest in the dense foliage. The flowers are followed by large seed pods. As these mature, they dry and split. Hundreds of thin, brown, paper-like seeds are released. These are easily grown when stratified.


The Latin specific epithet radicans means "with stems that take root".[6]

Garden history

The flamboyant flowering of Campsis radicans made it obvious to even the least botanically-minded of the first English colonists in Virginia. Consequently, the plant quickly made its way to England early in the 17th century. Its botanical parentage, as a hardy member of a mostly subtropical group, made its naming problematic: according to John Parkinson, the Virginia settlers were at first calling it a jasmine or a honeysuckle, and then a bellflower; he classed it in the genus Apocynum (dogbane). Joseph Pitton de Tournefort erected a catch-all genus Bignonia in 1700, from which it has since been extricated.[7]


The vigor of the trumpet vine should not be underestimated. In warm weather, it puts out huge numbers of tendrils that grab onto every available surface, and eventually expand into heavy woody stems several centimeters in diameter. It grows well on arbors, fences, telephone poles, and trees, although it may dismember them in the process. Ruthless pruning is recommended. Outside of its native range this species has the potential to be highly invasive, even as far north as New England. The trumpet vine thrives in many places in southern Canada as well.

Away from summer heat, C. radicans is less profuse of flower. A larger-flowered hybrid 'Mme Galen' was introduced about 1889 by the Tagliabue nurserymen of Lainate near Milan.[7]

The form C. radicans f. flava has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[8]

Media related to Campsis radicans at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Campsis radicans at Wikispecies


  1. 1 2 Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. 1 2 "USDA GRIN Taxonomy".
  3. John Tveten; Gloria Tveten (5 July 2010). Wildflowers of Houston and Southeast Texas. University of Texas Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-292-78687-5.
  4. Dale Mayer (12 November 2010). The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden Successful. Atlantic Publishing Company. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-60138-345-7.
  5. Biota of North America Program, 2013 county distribution map
  6. Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  7. 1 2 Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Campsis".
  8. "RHS Plant Selector - Campsis radicans f. flava". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/10/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.