Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Trumpet-creeper - Campsis radicans   (L.) Seemann ex Bureau
Members of Bignoniaceae:
Only member of Campsis in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Bignoniaceae
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Author(L.) Seemann ex Bureau
DistributionEssentially statewide, but of spotty distribution in the Mountains. Presumed present in all 100 counties.

A very wide range from NH, southern Ontario, and Great Plains states south to southern FL and much of TX. Present in most counties from DE west to MO and south to the Gulf Coast.
AbundanceCommon to often very common in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, except only fairly common in the foothills. Locally common in the southern Mountains (at low elevations), but increasingly rare at higher elevations; not common in the northern Mountains.
HabitatThis is a very widespread species of semi-disturbed habitats and can be dominant in flood-scoured bottomland, floodplain, and swamp forests. It can be found in drier forest interiors, but it is more characteristic of wetland forests. It has adapted readily to man, and is now numerous in fencerows, thickets, and woodland borders. In fact, this is a somewhat weedy species that can occasionally smother native herbaceous species, especially in rich bottomland forests.
See also Habitat Account for Wet Forests and Successional Fields
PhenologyBlooms in June and July, and fruits in September and October.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar vine to most people, and it is easily identified over most of the year. It is a deciduous, high-climbing woody vine, climbing the highest trees by use of aerial roots on the trunks (similar to the growth form of Poison-ivy [Toxicodendron radicans]). The very large leaves are divided into 9 or 11 large leaflets, each leaflet being serrate margined and somewhat elliptic to ovate, about 2 inches long. If you cannot identify the vine by its large and divided leaves, the very long and showy orange-red trumpet flowers are certainly unmistakable. By fall, the long and cylindrical woody capsules, reaching 6 inches long, are easily seen, dangling from the vines. As with many or most vine species, the flowers do not appear until or unless the vines have climbed well off the ground, and particularly so where the vines are in full or partial sun. In winter, the pale tan-colored and shreddy bark is quite different from other high-climbing woody vines (Bignonia, Berchemia, Vitis) which have dark brown or gray-brown bark. Finally, Trumpet-creeper vines are striated lengthwise with grooves.
Taxonomic CommentsNone. This is the only species in the genus in North America.

Other Common Name(s)Trumpet-vine
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFAC link
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B.A. SorrieVery large climber near Deep River, White Pines Preserve; 8 inches diam. ChathamPhoto_natural

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