Cross Vine

By William T. Hathaway

Cross Vine (Anisostichus capriolata)

The Cross Vine (Anisostichus capriolata) is a high-climbing vine that flowers locally in April thru May. These beautiful flowers are often overlooked, since the clustered blossoms are usually high in the top of the tallest trees. In my experience, these vines are most common along sandy riverbanks. Occasionally, cross vines can be found in open woods or woodland edges.

In late May, flowers age and drop to the ground, leaving the seed pods on high. Over the years, several specimens noticeably escaped my attention until I had walked on the fallen flowers — naturalists tend to make mental notes of specimen locations. A quick glance located the climbing vine with its clinging tendrils and highly modified compound leaves. A transverse slice of the vine exposes the woody tissues, showing a cross.

(See also another article about the Cross Vine.)