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Vines

In 2016, a total of 436 kinds of woody plants were known to occur in the wild in Arkansas, comprising 419 species plus another seventeen varieties and subspecies. Of these, 185 can be considered trees, 189 are best described as shrubs, and sixty-two are woody vines. In some cases, it is difficult to draw a hard line between these categories, and various reference works differ in their criteria for each. For the purposes of this entry, however, each category is defined as follows:

Trees are defined as perennial, often single- or relatively few–stemmed woody plants typically greater than five meters (sixteen feet) in height at maturity. Shrubs are defined as perennial, often multi-stemmed woody or semi-woody plants usually less than five meters (sixteen feet) in height at maturity. This includes the bamboo members of the grass family (which may be taller), yuccas, the highbush members of the genus Rubus (blackberries and raspberries), prickly-pear cacti, and dwarf palmettos. Woody vines are defined as perennial, woody or semi-woody twining, climbing, or trailing plants with relatively long stems. In some cases these may not appear especially “woody” (e.g., the trailing or dewberry members of the genus Rubus and some greenbriers in the genus Smilax), but their stems do not die back to the ground in winter.

An additional ninety-five plants in the Arkansas flora may be classified as herbaceous, or non-woody, vines. These are defined here as herbaceous annual or perennial twining, climbing, or trailing plants with relatively long stems. A few evergreen perennial trailing plants such as partridge-berry and periwinkle vines (Vinca) are included in this category due to their lack of woody stems and overall resemblance to herbaceous plants.

Of the sixty-two woody vines in Arkansas, thirteen (21.0 percent) are not native to the state and were introduced either by accident or intentionally from elsewhere in the world since the time of European settlement. Five (8.1 percent) have been identified as state species of conservation concern by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. These species are rare in the state and may be at risk from loss of habitat, disease, or other factors. Of the ninety-five herbaceous vines, thirty (31.6 percent) are not native, and eleven (11.6 percent) are state species of conservation concern. All of these are designated in the tables below.

The largest genera of woody vines in Arkansas are the dewberries, or trailing blackberries (Rubus; eleven woody vine species, all of which are native); the greenbriers (Smilax; seven woody vine species, all native); the grapes (Vitis; seven woody vine species, all native); the false-grapes (Ampelopsis; three woody vine species, two native); the virgin’s-bowers (Clematis; three woody vine species, two native); the vine honeysuckles (Lonicera; three woody vine species, two native); and the wisterias (Wisteria; three woody vine species, one native).

The largest genera of herbaceous vines in Arkansas are the vetches (Vicia; twelve herbaceous vine species, four of which are native); the dodders (Cuscuta; eleven herbaceous vine species, all native); the morning-glories (Ipomoea; nine herbaceous vine species, four native); the leather-flowers (Clematis; six herbaceous vine species, all native); the vetchlings (Lathyrus; five herbaceous vines species, two native); and the gourds (Cucurbita; four herbaceous vine species, three native).

As noted above, not all of the vine species found in Arkansas are native to the state. Several of these non-native vines are considered by botanists and ecologists to be invasive in Arkansas’s natural communities, capable of displacing native vegetation and altering habitat for native wildlife. Examples of non-native invasive woody vines in Arkansas include Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), sweet autumn virgin’s-bower (Clematis terniflora), winter-creeper (Euonymus fortunei), English ivy (Hedera helix), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis).

Examples of non-native invasive herbaceous vines in Arkansas include balloon-vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum), cinnamon vine or air-potato (Dioscorea polystachya), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus), big-leaf periwinkle (Vinca major), and common periwinkle (Vinca minor).

The following table presents an annotated list of the sixty-two woody vines known to occur in the wild in Arkansas as recorded by Gentry et. al (2013) and amended by the staff of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission with data gathered since 2013.

Annotations are as follows:

+ = state conservation concern (rare species)

* = non-native to Arkansas

Scientific Name

Common Name(s)

Family

Family Common Name

Actinidia chinensis var. deliciosa *

kiwi

ACTINIDIACEAE

Kiwi Family

Ampelopsis arborea

peppervine

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata *

porcelain-berry

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Ampelopsis cordata

false grape, raccoon-grape, heart-leaf peppervine

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Aristolochia tomentosa

pipe-vine, Dutchman’s-pipe

ARISTOLOCHIACEAE

Dutchman’s-pipe Family

Berchemia scandens

rattan-vine, supplejack

RHAMNACEAE

Buckthorn Family

Bignonia capreolata

cross-vine

BIGNONIACEAE

Trumpet-creeper Family

Brunnichia ovata

ladies’-eardrops, buckwheat-vine

POLYGONACEAE

Buckwheat Family

Calycocarpum lyonii

cupseed

MENISPERMACEAE

Moonseed Family

Campsis radicans

trumpet-creeper

BIGNONIACEAE

Trumpet-creeper Family

Celastrus orbiculatus *

Oriental bittersweet

CELASTRACEAE

Bittersweet Family

Celastrus scandens

American bittersweet

CELASTRACEAE

Bittersweet Family

Cissus trifoliata

marine-ivy

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Clematis catesbyana

Catesby’s virgin’s-bower, satin-curls

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis terniflora *

sweet autumn virgin’s-bower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis virginiana

virgin’s-bower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Cocculus carolinus

Carolina snailseed, Carolina-moonseed

MENISPERMACEAE

Moonseed Family

Decumaria barbara +

climbing-hydrangea, woodvamp

HYDRANGEACEAE

Hydrangea Family

Euonymus fortunei *

winter-creeper

CELASTRACEAE

Bittersweet Family

Euonymus obovatus +

running strawberry-bush

CELASTRACEAE

Bittersweet Family

Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jasmine, yellow jessamine

GELSEMIACEAE

Jessamine Family

Hedera helix *

English ivy

ARALIACEAE

Ginseng Family

Lonicera flava

yellow honeysuckle

CAPRIFOLIACEAE

Honeysuckle Family

Lonicera japonica *

Japanese honeysuckle

CAPRIFOLIACEAE

Honeysuckle Family

Lonicera sempervirens

trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle

CAPRIFOLIACEAE

Honeysuckle Family

Menispermum canadense

moonseed

MENISPERMACEAE

Moonseed Family

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia-creeper, woodbine

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Pueraria montana var. lobata *

kudzu

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Pyracantha coccinea *

scarlet firethorn

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Pyracantha koidzumii *

Formosa firethorn

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus aboriginum

dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus enslenii

dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus flagellaris

northern dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus ictus

savannah dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus leviculus

dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus meracus

dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus roribaccus

Lucretia dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus rubrisetus

southern dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus sons

southern dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus steelei

Steele’s dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Rubus trivialis

southern dewberry

ROSACEAE

Rose Family

Schisandra glabra +

bay star-vine, climbing-magnolia

SCHISANDRACEAE

Star-vine Family

Smilax bona-nox

saw greenbrier, catbrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax glauca

cat greenbrier, sawbrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax hispida

bristly greenbrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax laurifolia

laurel greenbrier, bamboo-vine

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax rotundifolia

common greenbrier, horsebrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax smallii

lance-leaf greenbrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax walteri +

red-berried greenbrier, coral greenbrier

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Toxicodendron radicans

poison-ivy

ANACARDIACEAE

Sumac Family

Trachelospermum difforme

climbing-dogbane

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Trachelospermum jasminoides *

Confederate-jasmine, star-jasmine

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Vitis aestivalis

summer grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis cinerea

winter grape, downy grape, gray-bark grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis palmata

catbird grape, red grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis riparia

river-bank grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis rotundifolia

muscadine

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis rupestris +

sand grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Vitis vulpina

frost grape, fox grape

VITACEAE

Grape Family

Wisteria floribunda *

Japanese wisteria

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Wisteria frutescens

American wisteria

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Wisteria sinensis *

Chinese wisteria

FABACEAE

Bean Family

 

The following table presents an annotated list of the ninety-five herbaceous (non-woody) vines known to occur in the wild in Arkansas as recorded by Gentry et. al (2013) and amended by the staff of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission with data gathered since 2013. Annotations are as follows:

+ = state conservation concern (rare species)

* = non-native to Arkansas

Scientific Name

Common Name(s)

Family

Family Common Name

Apios americana

groundnut

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Calystegia sepium subsp. angulata

hedge bindweed

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cardiospermum halicacabum *

balloon-vine

SAPINDACEAE

Soapberry Family

Cayaponia quinqueloba

cucumber vine, melonleaf

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Centrosema virginianum

butterfly-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus *

watermelon

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Clematis crispa

swamp leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis glaucophylla +

white-leaf leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis pitcheri var. pitcheri

Pitcher’s leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis reticulata

net-leaf leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis versicolor

pale leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clematis viorna

leather-flower

RANUNCULACEAE

Buttercup Family

Clitoria mariana

butterfly-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Convolvulus arvensis *

field bindweed

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Convolvulus equitans +

Texas bindweed

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cucumis melo *

Queen Anne’s pocket melon

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Cucurbita foetidissima

buffalo gourd, Missouri gourd, stinking gourd

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Cucurbita maxima *

winter squash

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Cucurbita pepo subsp. ovifera var. ozarkana

wild pear gourd, yellow-flower gourd

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Cucurbita pepo subsp. ovifera var. texana

Texas gourd

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Cuscuta campestris

field dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta compacta

compact dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta coryli +

hazel dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta cuspidata

cusp dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta glomerata +

rope dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta gronovii

common dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta indecora var. indecora

large-seed dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta indecora var. longisepala

large-seed dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta obtusiflora var. glandulosa +

glandular dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta pentagona

field dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cuscuta polygonorum

smartweed dodder

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Cymbalaria muralis *

Kenilworth ivy

PLANTAGINACEAE

Plantain Family

Cynanchum laeve

sandvine, honeyvine

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Dioclea multiflora

cluster-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Dioscorea polystachya *

cinnamon vine, air-potato, Chinese yam

DIOSCOREACEAE

Yam Family

Dioscorea villosa

wild yam

DIOSCOREACEAE

Yam Family

Fallopia convolvulus *

black-bindweed, climbing false buckwheat

POLYGONACEAE

Buckwheat Family

Fallopia scandens

climbing false buckwheat, hedge-smartweed

POLYGONACEAE

Buckwheat Family

Funastrum cynanchoides subsp. cynanchoides

climbing-milkweed, twinevine

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Galactia volubilis

downy milk-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Glechoma hederacea *

ground-ivy

LAMIACEAE

Mint Family

Gonolobus suberosus

anglepod

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Humulus japonicus *

Japanese hops

CANNABACEAE

Hemp Family

Humulus lupulus var. pubescens +

wild hops

CANNABACEAE

Hemp Family

Ipomoea coccinea

red morning-glory, scarlet-creeper

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba +

tie-vine morning-glory

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea hederacea *

ivy-leaf morning-glory

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea lacunosa

small white morning-glory

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea muricata *

lilacbell, purple moonflower

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea pandurata

wild potato vine, man-of-the-earth

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea purpurea *

morning-glory

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea quamoclit *

cypress-vine

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Ipomoea wrightii *

Wright’s morning-glory

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Jacquemontia tamnifolia *

hairy tie-vine

CONVOLVULACEAE

Morning-glory Family

Lathyrus aphaca *

yellow vetchling

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Lathyrus hirsutus *

singletary-pea, caley-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Lathyrus latifolius *

everlasting-pea, perennial sweet-pea

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Lathyrus pusillus +

low vetchling

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Lathyrus venosus

bushy-vetch, forest-pea, veiny vetchling

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Matelea baldwyniana

climbing-milkweed

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Matelea decipiens

climbing-milkweed

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Melothria pendula

creeping-cucumber

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Mikania scandens

climbing hempweed

ASTERACEAE

Sunflower Family

Mimosa quadrivalvis var. nuttallii

sensitive-brier

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Mimosa strigillosa

powderpuff

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Mitchella repens

partridge-berry

RUBIACEAE

Madder Family

Neptunia lutea

yellow-puff

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Neptunia oleracea *

water-mimosa, garden-puff, water sensitive-plant

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Passiflora incarnata

purple passion-flower, maypops

PASSIFLORACEAE

Passion-flower Family

Passiflora lutea

yellow passion-flower

PASSIFLORACEAE

Passion-flower Family

Phaseolus polystachios

wild bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Rhynchosia latifolia

snout-bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Rhynchosia minima +

least snout-bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Sicyos angulatus

bur-cucumber

CUCURBITACEAE

Gourd Family

Smilax herbacea

carrion-flower

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax lasioneura

carrion-flower

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Smilax pulverulenta

carrion-flower

SMILACACEAE

Greenbrier Family

Strophostyles helvola

wild bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Strophostyles leiosperma

wild bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Strophostyles umbellata

wild bean

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Tragia cordata

heart-leaf noseburn

EUPHORBIACEAE

Spurge Family

Vicia caroliniana

wood vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia grandiflora *

large yellow vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia hirsuta *

tiny vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia ludoviciana subsp. leavenworthii +

Leavenworth’s vetch, deer pea vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia ludoviciana subsp. ludoviciana +

Louisiana vetch, deer pea vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia lutea *

yellow vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia minutiflora

small-flower vetch, pygmy-flower vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia sativa subsp. nigra *

common vetch, narrow-leaf vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia sativa subsp. sativa *

common vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia tetrasperma *

lentil vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia villosa subsp. varia *

smooth vetch, winter vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vicia villosa subsp. villosa *

hairy vetch, winter vetch

FABACEAE

Bean Family

Vinca major *

big-leaf periwinkle

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

Vinca minor *

common periwinkle

APOCYNACEAE

Dogbane Family

For additional information:
Gentry, Johnnie L., George P. Johnson, Brent T. Baker, C. Theo Witsell, and Jennifer D. Ogle., eds. Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Herbarium, 2013.

Hunter, Carl G. Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Arkansas. Little Rock: Ozark Society Foundation, 2004.

Smith, Edwin B. Keys to the Flora of Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Tucker, Gary Edward. “A Guide to the Woody Flora of Arkansas.” PhD diss., University of Arkansas, 1976.

Theo Witsell
Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission

Last Updated 7/20/2016

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