18″ x 26″, 2015
The genus derives its name from the Greek ‘kampsis’ meaning flexure, curve or bending, referring to the curved stamens of the flower; the latin ‘radicans’ (rooting) refers to its aerial rootlets.
Native to the eastern U.S., this vigorous vine thrives in heat and sunlight, putting forth cymes of trumpet-shaped blooms in brilliant shades of fiery red—irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies. I, too, found the lush quasi-tropical plant flourishing in our northern climes, hard to resist.
This deciduous climber clings to any available surface by aerial rootlets, sometimes in areas where it is not always welcome! Clusters of vermilion bell-shaped flowers appear throughout the summer. Each tubular form opens into a five-lobed corolla, the inner surface being a golden yellow with crimson lines which guide pollinators to the nectary.
The flower is eventually replaced by a sturdy green bean which matures into a long dark seed pod. When the pod splits open it releases membranous winged seeds to be dispersed by wind and air, perhaps to hospitable soil where it may propagate another generation.