Bignoniaceae (Trumpet Creeper) Family
Plant is a woody climbing vine. Preferred habitat is at stream banks, roadsides, moist woods and waste sites. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are opposite and compound; consisting of two oblong to lance-like leaflets and a tendril arising from between them; no teeth and no lobes and base is nearly heart-shaped.
Flowers are in axillary clusters, divided into two parts each being an image of the other; corolla is tubular; five lobed; dull red to nearly orange outside; yellow inside; sweet scented. Flowers occur in the spring.
Fruit is a capsule.
This is an occasional vine and seems to prefer one swampy area over another but a good rule of thumb is "fresh water streams," and the margin of woods where a good water supply is near by. Odors coming from the flower are pungent and subdued; not pleasant but not unpleasant either.
The common name is derived from the cross-shaped appearance of the stem in sectional view. Also, a story goes that during pioneer migrations westward there were many deaths on the wagon trains and trails. A supply of the cross vine was carried on the treks. Because the vines were pliable but tough grave markers were made by crossing two sticks and binding them with the vine; thus adding richness to the history of this beautiful high-climber.
The Latin, capreolata, describes the plant as "Being like rafters; to swing from one host to another".