Though we haven't had many hummingbirds this year, Pittsburgh's trumpet creeper is waiting to attract them.
Trumpet vine or trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a woody vine native to eastern North America. It's so well adapted to the forest edge that it aggressively climbs up to 35 feet to reach the sun.
Its beauty and scent are attractive to gardeners but it requires ruthless pruning. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says, "To keep it in check, plant it near concrete or an area that you can mow; mowing down the suckers will discourage them."
The flower is specially shaped for pollination by ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only hummingbird in this plant's native range. The tubes are large and the anthers held high. The insect above is too small to pollinate it.
Learn more in this video by the Capital Naturalist.
As a trumpet for hummingbirds, it's probably so fragrant because ruby-throats like its scent. Remember: we learned this month that birds can smell.
(photo by Kate St. John; video by The Capital Naturalist on YouTube)