|"Wide Open" [Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata)]|
This was another discovery on my third trip to the Charles Allen Biological Station, not as spectacular as the orchid Matt Herron found, but Matt congratulated me on spotting it. In the summer, cross vine bears reddish-orange and yellow flowers and is a lot easier to spot. This is the fruit left behind that splits open to release the seeds. I was please that this particular fruit still had seeds; that's the reddish brown papery thing you see inside the wide open fruit.
My "Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Louisiana" by Charles Allen, Dawn Newman & Harry Winters tells me the roots of this plant are a source of sarsaparilla. The name comes from the cross shape formed by the pith, which can be seen by cutting a cross-section of stem. I didn't. I'll take the book's word for it!