Accidental Crossvine

This is what can happen when we don’t trim the holy crap out of every edge in the yard. I let this native crossvine volunteer up a wall and now LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY.

Of course, ugly things can happen when you never trim at all, but right now I have BEAUTY and I’m looking at it. 

The red / yellow trumpets are glorious. Bees agree.

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

And then, there are the hummingbirds. Usually, I sit nearby to listen for squeaks and hums at the crossvine. This year, I mostly hear neighborhood infill construction—generators, nail guns, Oldies radio—but then again, I’m so agita about Current Events I don’t do much sitting anyway. 

I haven’t seen hummingbirds yet this month, but they probably zip through the crossvine while I’m in the kitchen.
I am always in the kitchen.
Cooking is great fun once a week, but EVERY DAY?

Pollen on the ceiling

Pollen waits inside on the trumpet’s ceiling, so when a hummingbird or big carpenter bee flies in, pollen jiggles onto keppies and backs to be ferried elsewhere.

Crossvine is evergreen; won’t suck the life out of a tree if it climbs it; and I’ve seen it function as a groundcover in the woods.
What it really wants is a proper trellis. Or a shed.

The only downside is that the blooms don’t last all spring. I’d love to be able to offer hummingbirds red / yellow trumpets for months and months.

I do know at least one common cultivar with long-lasting blooms (until fall?), but what I don’t know is if it offers the nectar, pollen, and host-plant-i-ness of the straight species. Do you know?

If it does, sign me up.
I’ll let it have the shed.

o o o


Crossvine plantfinder info at Missouri Botanical Garden



o o o

About the author:

My Instagram feed is 100% nature, and most of it the Sidewalk kind.
No shots of my teacup unless there is a plant or animal floating in it.

I’m not fond of facebook, but some people are on it who aren’t on Instagram, so I post nature things there from time to time.

Bio: Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world. Her essays have appeared in BrevityFourth GenreHippocampusThe HopperFlyway, The CommonCity CreaturesThe Fourth River and other journals. She writes about everyday natural wonders amid everyday habitat loss at and @Jo_Brichetto on Instagram. Her current project is a book of linked essays called Paradise in a Parking Lot.