Going Vertical
Native Vines for Landscapes in the Borderlands

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Vines are valuable landscape additions. They can bring beauty and nature to structures that are otherwise drab and lifeless. They can provide nectar flowers to birds and butterflies high, safely away from predators like cats. Some vines can even take some heat off your walls in the summer. They can be used in arbors, on fences, or just be scrambling up the base of a shrub that would otherwise be bare. Some vines are small and only climb a foot or two, like fermina (Janusia gracilis). Others can climb to almost endless heights like butterfly orchid vine (Callaeum macroptera). Some are evergreen and some are deciduous. Some of the deciduous vines have spectacular fall color like the hacienda creepers (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).
You will need to pay attention to the attributes of the vine: are they self clinging to a wall, need structure to twine to, or must be attached using wire or string? Can they handle the sun on a south-facing wall? Not all native vines can handle the hot reflected heat in such spots in summers.


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Antigonon leptopus
QUeen’s Wreath

Large, deciduous, perennial vine climbing by tendrils.
Full to part sun, moderate to low water, root hardy to about 15°F.
A lovely pollinator plant blooming prolifically. Red and white species available. Cut back to the ground after frost.


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Apodanthera undulata
Melon Loco

Large, deciduous, perennial vine, climbing by tendrils.
Full to part sun, low to moderate water, hardiness untested but native to 5,500’ elevation.
Pollinator plant, important for digger and gourd bees—males sleep in flowers. Fruits eaten by mammals.


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aristolochia Watsonii
Watson's dutchman's pipe

Small, semi-evergreen trailing herb.
Full to part sun, low to moderate water, hardiness unknown but native to about 4500’ elevation.
Larval host plant for the pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Pollinated by Ceratopogonid flies—the flowers of dutchman’s pipe resemble a mouses ear; the fly enters thinking it will get a meal (they suck blood from their ears) but get trapped in flowers overnight. The flower releases pollen onto the fly and lets it go in the morning. There are hundreds of species of Aristolochia, all have cool pollination stories.


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Brandegea bigelovii
desert starvine

Large, perennial, deciduous cucurbit vine, climbing by tendrils.
Full to part sun, moderate to low water, hardiness unknown but native to sandy washes up to 3000’ elevation.
Great pollinator plant. Cool-looking, inflated, spikey fruits.


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callaeum macropterum
yellow orchid vine

Giant, evergreen, perennial vine that climbs by twining stems.
Full to part sun, low to moderate water, top hardy to mid 20s°F., grows back after frost.
This is one of the few vines that can grow on the hottest wall in reflected heat and still look good. Flowers attract butterflies and bees. Flowers a lot, followed by butterfly-shaped pods.


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Calystegia longipes
plateau morninglory

Small, herbaceous perennial vines, stems trailing or climbing and twining, sometimes woody at the base. Twines up to about 2 feet.
Full to part sun, moderate water, hardiness unknown but native to about 5000’ elevation.
Nice little pollinator plant.


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Cardiospermum coriandrum
balloon vine

Large, semi-evergreen, perennial vines that climb via tendrils or clamoring over objects.
Full to part sun, moderate water, top is hardy to about 25°F but regrows vigorously.
Larval food plant for the Silver-banded Hairstreak (Chlorostrymon simaethis) and gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) butterflies.


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cissus trifoliata
Arizona Grape ivy

Cissus trifoliata
larval host for Wilson's Wood-nymph Moth (Xerociris wilsonii), Mournful sphinx moth, Satellite sphinx moth, Vine sphinx moth

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Clematis drummondii
Virgin’s bower

Clematis drummondii

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Clematis ligusticifolia
western white bower

Clematis ligusticifolia

Cocculus diversifolius

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Commicarpus scandens
Climbing Wartclub

Commicarpus scandens

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Convolvulus equitans
Gray Bindweed

Convolvulus spp.

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Cottsia gracilis
fermina

Cottsia gracilis 

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Cucurbita digitata
fingerleaf gourd

Cucurbita digitata

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Cucurbita foetidissima
buffalo gourd

Cucurbita foetidissima

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Cucurbita palmata
Coyote gourd

Cucurbita palmata 

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Echinopepon wrightii
wild balsam apple

Echinopepon wrightii

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Gonolobus arizonica
arizona milkvine

Gonolobus arizonica

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Ibervillea sonorae
cowpie plant

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Ibervillea tenuisecta
deer apple

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Ipomoea capillacea
purple morning glory

Ipomoea spp. The Arizona Department of Agriculture prohibits the sale of all vining Ipomoea species. This is ridiculous as there are many species that are not noxious weeds. But unfortunately the Ag department aren’t consulting knowledgable botanists on the subject. If you happen to come upon native non-invasive species of morning glories, we wouldn’t frown at you if you encouraged their existence in your landscape. Just beware that many species can take up some space.

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Jacquemontia pringlei
Pringle’s clustervine

Jacquemontia pringlei

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Lonicera albiflora
white honeysuckle

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Lonicera arizonica
arizona honeysuckle

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Lonicera ciliosa
orange honeysuckle

Lonicera spp

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Macroptilium atropurpureum
siratro

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Macroptilium gibbosifolium
variable-leaf bush bean

Macroptilium spp.

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Marah gilensis
gila manroot

Marah gilensis

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Mascagnia lilacina
purple orchid vine

Mascagnia lilacina

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Matelea cordifolia
mahoy

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Matelea parvifolia
little-leaf matelea

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Matelea producta
texas milkvine

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Matelea tristiflora
talayote

Matelea spp

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Maurandya antirrhiniflora
snapdragon vine

Maurandya antirrhiniflora

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Merremia aurea
yellow morning glory

Merremia aurea

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Merremia dissecta
Noyau-Vine

Merremia dissecta

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Metastelma arizonicum
arizona
swallow-wort

Metastelma arizonicum

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Nissolia schottii
schott’s yellowhood

Nissolia schottii

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Passiflora arizonica
arizona passionflower

Passiflora arizonica

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Passiflora bryonioides
cupped passionflower

Passiflora bryonioides

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Passiflora mexicana
mexican passionflower

Passiflora mexicana

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Phaseolus grayanus
Gray’s bean

Phaseolus spp.

Phaseolus maculatus

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Rhynchosia edulis
chihuahuan snout-bean

Rhynchosia spp

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Rubus neomexicanus
New Mexico raspberry

Rubus spp.

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Sarcostemma cynanchoides
fringed twinevine

Sarcostemma cynanochoides

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Vitis arizonica
canyon grape

Vitus arizonica and other Vitus spp.