Cross-vine is a vigorous vine in the Bignoniaceae (trumpet creeper) family. This vine is native to the southeastern United States. It is a tropical looking plant that climbs by using tendrils to wrap around stems or bark for support as it grows up tall objects like fences or pine trees. A cross section of its stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name. In North Carolina, the vine is usually a dark, glossy green; however, in colder areas of its growing range, the leaves take on a reddish-purple color.
It may be found growing native in many soil types, and usually up trees such as pines. In the wild, it is found in swampy forests and woodlands. It tolerates a wide variety of conditions, including coastal conditions, but prefers organically rich, well-drained soil. Cross-vine will grow well in shade to full sun, with better flower production the more sunlight it receives. In severe winters, the vine may die to the ground, but the roots are usually hardy enough to survive and will sprout new growth the following spring. Cross-vine may be propagated by root cutting or seed.
The vine blooms in late winter to early spring on new wood in clusters of two to five flowers. Its early bloom season provides a nice stopping point for hummingbirds in the area.