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An evergreen or semi-deciduous climber (according to climate), in nature ascending trees to a height of 40 to 50 ft; stems long, slender, glabrous except at the joints. Leaves opposite, composed of two leaflets on a common stalk 1⁄2 in. long, which is prolonged into a branched tendril. Leaflets oblong-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 5 in. long, 1⁄2 to 2 in. wide; heart-shaped at the base, tapered at the apex, glabrous and deep green; stalk 1⁄2 in. long, hairy on the upper side. Flowers orange-red, clustered in the leaf-axils, each on a stalk 1 to 11⁄4 in. long. Corolla between tube- and funnel-shaped, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, 11⁄4 in. wide at the mouth, where it spreads into five ovate, rounded lobes. Calyx bell-shaped, 3⁄8 in. long, shallowly five-toothed. Pod about 6 in. long, slender, flattened. Blossoms in June. Bot. Mag., t. 864.
Native of the south-eastern United States; introduced in 1710. In order to succeed near London this handsome climber must have a sheltered, sunny wall. The popular name refers to the cross-like appearance of the wood when cut through transversely.
In Bot. Mag., t. 6501, a form is illustrated which differs from the type in its darker, red-purple flowers and longer, narrower leaves.