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bignonia (bĭgnōˈnēə) [key], common name for the family Bignoniaceae, a family of chiefly woody vines of the American tropics and also a few shrubs and trees. The trumpet creeper (of the genus Bignonia ) and the trumpet flower, or trumpet vine (of the genus Campsis ), both found wild in the SE United States, are sometimes cultivated for their orange-red trumpet-shaped flowers. The calabash tree of the tropics bears large fruits from which carrying gourds (called calabashes) are made and used locally; its wood is used for making pipes. The Catalpa genus of trees with showy flowers is valued in the United States for ornament and shade. The highly durable wood is used for lumber, as is that of the South American genus Jacaranda and of the West Indian boxwood (genus Tabebuia ). The bignonias are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Scrophulariales.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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