Wild Trumpet Vine (Cow Itch)

Wild Trumpet Vine

Campsis radicans

(Another in the “Wildflowers Week” series)

Wild Trumpet Vine

Wild Trumpet Vine

Everyone has seen these at the edge of the road – especially in areas of damp soil. It is the wild trumpet vine. It is food for hummingbirds and bumblebees. But the leaves and blooms are slightly poisonous to humans and others – including cows. It can cause (usually minor) skin irritation with redness and swelling and itching. (See NCSU website.)

From the FCPS website,

Trumpet Creeper is a woody vine which grows up to 30 feet tall. The main stem can grow about seven inches wide.

The leaves of Trumpet Creeper have between seven and eleven leaflets. Each leaflet is one to three inches long, dark green, with teeth.

Trumpet Creeper can grow in woods or fields, but is most often seen at forest edges or streambanks.

This vine uses aerial rootlets (tiny roots which grab onto trees, bushes, other vines, fences, or walls) to climb upwards. On its own, without anything to climb, Trumpet Creeper would take the form of a small shrub.

“This is an extremely aggressive plant which suckers profusely from underground runners and freely self-seeds. Will form impenetrable colonies in the wild which can choke out many plants that get in its way.” (Thanks to Missouri Botanical Garden.)

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