Trumpet-creeper

We call it trumpet-vine but according to Jepson the common name is trumpet-creeper. Botanically it is Campsis radicans and is a member of the Bignoniaceae or Bignonia family which includes catalpa and jacaranda.

Here’s a snap from today, on the southwest corner of the house:

You can see the bee on one of the petals. The spectacular flowers always attract bees and of course hummingbirds. They are a little harder to photograph!

You can’t kill these plants and you don’t have to water them. In fact, they seem to thrive on abuse. They are perennial and you have to cut them back as they will quickly take over if there is something to climb on. They stick to walls and can damage the paint.

They have a disheveled appearance and the confusion of shoots and branches makes them hard to prune artfully, but they produce these remarkable flowers in big clusters regardless.

California is mostly desert, and even in the rainier and snowier spots of the state the summer rainfall is next to nothing. Plants that can thrive in drought conditions in the full, harsh glare of the sun are special creatures.

Campsis radicans is native to North America and it was originally confined to New England and the Midwest but has now become established in the West. In the warm, wet South it is a tenacious pest and has to be controlled. We don’t have that problem in our arid corner of the country! The name, by the way, means “flexible root.”

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