Help Me Put a Name on This Plant

My mystery climber doesn’t bloom often, but it suckers like crazy.

Plant Identified!

Thanks to the readers of this column, my mystery plant has been identified. It turns out to be two plants, in fact. What I took for a climbing plant with yellow flowers was in fact a yellow-flowered perennial (Patrinia scabiosifolia) bent over under the weight of a climbing plant (Aristolochia spp.). 

Many thanks to all who helped me put a name on this plant!

You wouldn’t know this just from reading this blog, but I receive a lot of photos from people asking me to identify plants. And I’m usually pretty good at it. But I’m stumped with this one … even though it’s from my own garden and indeed, it’s obviously something I planted myself. (The previous owners of my home seem to have only planted goutweed!)

The heart-shaped leaves look a lot like aristolochia leaves, but the blooms prove otherwise.

Here’s a quick description: it’s an invasive twining climber with heart-shaped alternate leaves and dense clusters of tiny 5-petaled bright yellow flowers at the stem tips in late summer/early fall. It’s a deciduous perennial and obviously very hardy, have survived for over 20 years in USDA hardiness zone 3.

Can anyone help me identify it? 


Larry the Laidback Gardener

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

14 comments on “Help Me Put a Name on This Plant

  1. I was about to say the same. The vine seems to be wrapped around the blooming stem. Are all the blooms on the lower portions of the vines, without bloom above the height of Patrinia? Aristolochia does not bloom easily, so could have gone for many years without bloom. I do not recognize the species.

    • Absolutely spot on. I don’t know how I missed this very obvious error.

      • I would not have said anything if others had not already done so. I mean, I figured that if it were that simple, it would have been noticed. I kept looking at it believing that the two were the same just because you said so.

  2. I found a vine called honey vine milkweed that looks very similar. The flowers are white though. Maybe it is a cultivar with yellow flowers?

    • Not it. It turns out its an aristolochia.

      • That’s funny I had shown it to a plant friend and she suggested that it was Patrinia but no heart shaped leaves ? cool I’m glad you figured it out because it was driving me crazy as I’m sure it was you . Usually I can find a plant in minutes. But this one had me stumped, no wonder ?

  3. The flowers are definitely from the same plant as the vine? The yellow flowers look like Patrinia, with a vine wrapping around its stem. The vine looks like aristolochia.

    • Wow! You’re right! I can’t believe I didn’t see that, yet, there I was, in person, only a few feet away! So, it is indeed a Patrinia in bloom, while the leaves are of an aristolochia.

  4. Susan Tamulonis

    Maybe Cocculus carolinus. I’m in Zone 5a or b depending on microclimates and who you believe Denver where it’s snowing right now on Spetember 8. This plant has never suffered any problems.

    It’s been removed after digging this August 4 feet down to remove all the roots. I planted something near it that needed a bit a water and … well … you know how vines can be.

    • So sad to here about the snow! I just moved the last of my houseplants indoors, but there’s no frost here… yet!

      Very interesting plant. I’d never heard of it before! But I checked it out and that’s not my plant. Thanks for trying to help!

  5. Thunbergia alata , black eyed susan vine? Or maybe a Convolvulus ,Yellow Bindweed? Wish you had photos of the flowers. I agree it does look like cinnamon vine bit those don’t have yellow flowers. It certainly looks like it’s in the morning glory family.

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