Crossvine (Capreolata)

The Crossvine (Capreolata) is generally described as a perennial vine. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: Native Americans used crossvine as a remedy for numerous health ailments. An infusion of leaves was used to purify blood. Decoctions of leaves were used for rheumatism. Decoctions of mashed bark were used to alleviate edema and headaches. Individuals with diphtheria gargled a mashed root infusion.

Ornamental: The showy, fragrant flowers and unique leaves of crossvine make this plant appropriate for some gardening and landscaping needs. It is often used as a cover for fences, arbors, walls, pillars or large trellises and as a groundcover. It is often recommended as a native ornamental alternative to non-native climbing vines.

Wildlife: The tubular flowers and large quantities of nectar produced by crossvine are attractants for hummingbirds and butterflies.

General Characteristics

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.


Weediness Crossvine can spread aggressively. This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed.

General Upkeep and Control

If not properly managed crossvine can spread quickly by root suckers and become problematic. Pruning will reduce aggressive growth if spread is not desired.

Seeds and Plant Production Crossvine can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. Pretreatment of seeds is not necessary. Although a 90% germination rate can be expected, seedling survival and growth may be low. Seedlings may need to harden in winter temperatures before outplanting.

The species can be rooted at any time of the year but June or July cuttings are generally recommended. Crossvine cuttings root easily, but may take six to eight weeks.

Plant Basics
General Type Vine
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA