Species distinguishing characteristics:
- Climbing vine with paired, opposite leaves
- Leaves with entire margins
- Showy, orange flowers in clusters on stem tips
- End pair of leaves joined together in a disk
- Translucent orange-red berry clusters
- Mostly woody plants (shrubs, small trees, or vines)
- Opposite leaves
- Flowers and berries appear in pairs on most members of family
- Flowers with 5 (or 4) petals united into a tube
- Fruit is fleshy berry with remains of calyx attached
- Pithy stems
Slender, twining vine that climbs up to 6 meters high on shrubs and trees.
Leaves and stems:
Slender, hollow, twining stems that branch widely while climbing. Smooth leaves, 4–10 cm long, attach by short stalks to the stem in opposite pairs. Leaves are oval to egg-shaped, have hair on the margins, and a whitish, waxy texture on the underside. The last pair of leaves on each twig joins to form a disk.
Dense clusters of 8–12 bright orange to yellow-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers on short stalks in the leaf disk at the end of stems. Flowers, 2–5 cm long, have 5 equal flared lobes.
Shallow, fibrous roots.
Dense, grape-like clusters of translucent orange-red, juicy berries with several seeds, each 8–12 mm.
Climbs on trees and shrubs in dry, shaded forest openings and thickets at low to mid-elevations.
Sucking the nectar from the swollen area at the base of the flower tube offers a sweet treat that hummingbirds favor. Tribal groups from British Columbia, Canada used the fiber from the stems to weave mats. The twining stems, combined with willow, were used as lashing to reinforce suspension bridges and make pliable ladders.