This is a climbing, well behaved woody vine that can eventually become 50 ft. long if allowed to "climb free". It's showy, orange-red, trumpet-shaped flowers are about 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches across and they hang in clusters of two to five. They are sometimes seen high in tree canopies, as the vine climbs by means of tendrils. Claws at the end of its tendrils allow crossvine to cling to stone, bricks and fences without support. Leaves are opposite, 4–6 inches long by 2 inches wide, with a third leaflet modified into a tendril. Persistent, glossy, semi-evergreen leaves change from dark green in summer to reddish-purple in winter.
The flowers can be quite variable, sometimes with yellow throats.