Native Vines of the
Southeast



Some Native Vines of the Southeast are hardy while others are tough yet tender and offer a minimal growing range.

The Southeast region stretches from sub tropical Florida to eastern Texas and north to Kentucky and Virginia.

They deal with heat and humidity much of the year while the risk of cold and snow looms any given winter.

You are fortunate, however, to have large and diverse group of native trees, shrubs, vining and other plants.

Vines of the Southeast offer a wealth of food and cover for wildlife, and can crate a dramatic flush of color in season. They also work well in the southeast landscape and many of the opulent homes and estates.

But why native?

Northern cardinals, robins, Cedar waxwings and other birds dine on their preferred native fruits. Native create nesting sites as well as host plants for many of your butterflies like Pipevine swallowtails and well as other species.

They offer canopies and cool spots for the weary gardener to rest.

Check out the nice array of native Vines of the Southeast.

Apois tuberosa or americana:

Common Name: Ground Nut

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Native Range: Eastern 2/3 of the United States and Ontario and Quebec, Canada

Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 4 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer

Bloom Color: lavender/Maroon in rare occasions purple.

Sun: Sun to Partial Shade Light Shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Tubers or ground nuts are edible.

The Ground Nut is an aboriginal plant to the United States and it's remnants have been found in archaeological digs of Native American campsites in southern New England that go back 9,000 years.

The plant is a climber that develops pinkish-lavender and maroon flowers which form in clusters that are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.

Flowers are fragrant.

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds.

Suitable for growing in containers.

Aristolochia tomentosa

Common Name: Dutchman's pipe

Zone: 5 to 8

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Aristolochiaceae

Native Range: Southeastern and south-central United States. Expanded plantings into Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and much of the New England region have expanded the range of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

Height: 20 to 30 feet

Spread: 5 to 10 feet

Bloom Time: May - June

Bloom Color: Greenish yellow

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Showy flowers attract butterflies. Host plant to Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, moist soils. Intolerant of dry soils. If needed, cut back in late winter to control growth. Grows well from seed.

This species of Dutchman's pipe is a woody, deciduous, twining that typically occurs along streams and in moist woods. It is typically seen in the wild climbing trees or shrubs and can rapidly grow to 20-30' tall. Features large, heart-shaped, densely-overlapping leaves (4-8" long) which can quickly cover an arbor or trellis with deep green foliage.

Commonly called Dutchman's pipe because the unusual, 2" long, yellowish-green, curved-trumpet flowers (each flaring at the calyx mouth to form three brownish-purple lobes) superficially resemble Dutch smoking pipes. Although the flowers make interesting conversation pieces, they are usually hidden by the dense foliage and are somewhat inconspicuous. Flowers give way to ribbed, tubular seed capsules (to 3" long) which mature to a grayish-brown in September.

The leaves, young stems and flowers of this native are hairy (tomentose as the species name suggests). Very similar to A. macrophylla which is native to eastern North America, except A. macrophylla is basically glabrous (smooth). Aristolochia is a larval plant for the pipe vine swallowtail butterfly.

No serious insect or disease problems.

Can provide dense cover for sun porches, verandas, pillars, posts, trellises, arbors, fences or walls. Has been popularly used for many years to screen front porches. good selection for a butterfly garden.

Bignonia capreolata:

Common Name: cross vine

Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Bignoniaceae

Native Range: Southern portion of the northeast and well established into the deep south. Possible to grow in some northern regions., into southern Ontario with winter protection.

Height: 35 to 50 feet

Spread: 6 to 9 feet

Bloom Time: May - June

Bloom Color: Orange-red

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade, but best flower production occurs in sun. Prune after flowering if needed. Above ground stems are not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where they may die to the ground in severe winters (roots are usually hardy therein and will sprout new growth the following spring). In colder areas, it is best to plant this native vine in a protected location and apply a winter mulch. Established plants may send up root suckers which should be removed if spread is not desired.

Cross vine is a vigorous, semi-evergreen, woody native vine which climbs by tendrils. It is grown primarily for its orange-red, trumpet-shaped spring flowers and for its ability to rapidly cover structures with attractive foliage.

In the wild, it typically grows 35-50' (less frequently to 70') and is often found climbing up the trunks of tall trees or sprawling along the ground. In cultivation, it usually grows shorter. Foliage remains evergreen in the South, but turns reddish-purple in fall with subsequent leaf drop in the coldest areas of its range.

Fragrant, trumpet-shaped, orange-red flowers (to 2" long) appear in spring. Flowers are followed by greenish, pod-like seed capsules (to 7" long) which mature in late summer and persist into fall. A cross section of stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name.

There are plenty of native vines to look into, just remember to look at hardiness zones first.

Campsis radicans:

Common Name: trumpet creeper

Zone: 4 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Bignoniaceae

Native Range: Southeastern United States and beyond as it is naturalized throughout the Great Lakes.

Height: 25 to 40 feet

Spread: 5 to 20 feet

Bloom Time: July

Bloom Color: Orange, scarlet

Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: High

A fast growing native vine with flowers that attract hummingbirds. Will naturalize and take over if not kept in check.

Easily grown in most soils. Best in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Foliage grows well in shade, but plants need good sun for best flowering

The problem with trumpet vine is usually not how to grow it but how to restrain it. This native vine blooms on new growth, so early spring pruning will not affect the flowering. Vines must be grown on sturdy structures because mature plants produce considerable weight. This is an extremely aggressive plant which suckers profusely from underground runners and freely self-seeds.

Celastrus scandens:

Common Name: American bittersweet

Zone: 3 to 8

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Celastraceae

Native Range: North America

Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: May - June

Bloom Color: Greenish-white to yellow

Sun: Full sun

Sun: Full sun

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Not to be confused with the invasive Oriental Bittersweet (C. orbiculatus ).

Attracts birds and other wildlife.

Fall and winter interest.

Easily grown in most soils.

Best in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Lean soils help restrain growth. Will grow in part shade, but needs full sun for best flowering and subsequent fruit display. Prune in late winter to early spring. Mature vines require little pruning other than removal of dead or excess growth.

These native vines are primarily dioecious (separate male and female plants), although some have a few perfect flowers. Female plants need a male pollinator to produce the attractive fruit that is the signature of this vine.

Unfortunately, some nurseries do not sell the vines as male or female (as is commonly done with hollies). Generally one male plant is needed for 6-9 female plants. Female plants may be vegetatively propagated to create more female plants.

American bittersweet is a deciduous twining woody native vine that is best known for its showy red berries that brighten up fall and winter landscapes. This species is native to central and eastern North America.

Fruits split open in fall to reveal scarlet fleshy berry-like seeds (arils). Fruits are poisonous if ingested, but are considered to be quite tasty by many birds.

A native vine for woodland gardens, naturalized areas. Provides quick cover for fences, arbors, trellises, posts, walls or other structures in the landscape. Also may be grown along the ground to camouflage rock piles or old tree stumps.

Clematis virginiana:

Common Name: woodbine

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Ranunculaceae

Native Range: Eastern North America

Height: 12 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: August - October

Bloom Color: White

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium to wet

Maintenance: Low

Plant will naturalize. Showy fragrant white flowers in late summer through early fall.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This species will thrive and bloom in considerable shade. Blooms on current year’s growth. May be pruned back hard (to 8-12” from the ground) to strong leaf buds in fall after flowering or in late winter to early spring.

A native vine that needs adequate supply of nutrients during the growing season to support rush of growth. Can spread aggressively by self-seeding and suckering.

Woodbine is a fall-blooming native vine that is somewhat similar in flower to the introduced species Sweet autumn clematis (C. terniflora), but lacks the tough, leathery leaves of the latter.

It is native to eastern North America, where it typically occurs in moist low woodland areas and thickets bordering streams, ponds and fence rows.

A vigorous, deciduous, twining native vine with a rampant growth habit. If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20’. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover. Features sweetly aromatic, 1.25” diameter, pure white flowers (each with 4 narrow petal-like sepals) in axillary panicles from late August to October in a profuse bloom which typically covers the foliage.

Other native vine species of Clematis is C. occidentalis or purple clematis, western blue virgin's-bower.

In the eastern U.S., purple clematis is listed as Endangered in Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island; of Special Concern in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin; and Presumed Extirpated in Ohio.

Clematis crispa: (leatherflower) KY., TN., VA., and southern IL., and all of south

Clematis pitcheri: (leather flower, purple clematis) parts of KY., TN., IN. and IL. and much of the lower Midwest

Climbing hydrangea

Decumaria barbara:

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Common name: Climbing hydrangea, Woodvamp:

Water Use: Medium

Light Requirement: Part Shade

Soil Moisture: Moist

Duration: Perennial

Habit: Vining

Leaf Retention: Deciduous

Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Size Notes: Climber

Leaf Color: Dark, glossy green. Fall color is white and green.

Flower Size: 2 to 4 inches across

Bloom Color: White

Bloom Time: May - Oct

Bloom Notes: Blooms on new wood. Will only bloom when climbing, not when trailing on the ground. Flowers held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface.

Fruit Length: 1/4 inch

Fruit Color: tan

Common name: Climbing hydrangea, Woodvamp:

A native vine to most of the southeast, but can be found beyond native habitat. A woody vine to 30 ft., attaching by rootlets, with smooth, shiny, round to oval, deciduous leaves and fragrant flowers in flat-topped terminal clusters. Individual flowers are small and pale white with numerous stamens, held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface. The subsequent fruiting capsules are urn-shaped.

Unlike some forest vines, it maintains full leaf coverage from shady ground to sunny canopy, with glossy, dark green foliage providing an airy backdrop to the ethereal white blooms. Though it can be used as both a trailing groundcover and a climber, it will only bloom when climbing, and then only on new wood.

Great for moist Southeastern gardens with seasonal flooding. Climbing hydrangea can be used as a ground cover, a high climber on trees, or a cover for ledges & rock outcrops, though it will only bloom when climbing. It is well-suited to moist situations.

Carolina Jasmine

Gelsemium sempervirens:

Common Name: Carolina yellow jasmine

Zone: 7 to 10

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Loganiaceae

Native Range: Southern United States, Mexico, Guatemala

Height: 12 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: February - April

Bloom Color: Yellow

Sun: Full sun

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Showy fragrant flowers.

General Culture:

It is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering and growth occur in full sun. Will grow as a twining, vining plant, or if unsupported as a bushy ground cover. It should be sited in a protected location insulated from winter winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Flowers and foliage are poisonous if ingested.

False jasmine (also false jasmine) is an evergreen vining native from Virginia to Florida west to Texas and Central America. It is typically found in open woods, thickets and along roads. Bright, fragrant, funnel-shaped, yellow flowers (to 1.5” long) appear either solitary or in clusters (cymes) in late winter to early spring (February – April depending on location). Flowers often serve as a demonstrative signal that winter is coming to an end. False jasmine grows on wiry reddish-brown stems to 20’ long.

As a bushy ground cover, this native vine grows to 3’ tall and will sprawl somewhat indefinitely by runners. Shiny, lanceolate, light green leaves (to 1-3” long) are evergreen, but may develop yellow to purple hues in winter. Plants are semi-evergreen toward the northern limits of their growing range. The name of this vine is varyingly spelled as jasmine or jessamine. Carolina jasmine was named the official flower of South Carolina in 1924.

No serious insect or disease problems.

Grow this native vine on a trellis, arbor, pergola, fence or wall. Good porch cover. Formal ground cover. Informal ground cover for slopes or banks where it can sprawl and naturalize. Containers for patios where it can sprawl over the sides. Climb into smaller trees where early flowering is especially noticeable.

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Common Name: trumpet honeysuckle

Zone: 4 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Native Range: Eastern and central United States

Height: 10 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: May - June

Bloom Color: Scarlet/orange with yellow inside

Sun: Full sun

Medium

Maintenance: Low

A native climber with attractive flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators, showy fruits offer food for birds

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates shade, but the profuseness of flowering is inversely proportional to the amount of shade. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Prefers moist, loamy soils. Blooms primarily on previous year's stems, so prune to shape after flowering.

Trumpet honeysuckle is a vigorous, deciduous, twining native vine which typically grows 10-15' (less frequently to 20') and is one of the showiest of the native vining honeysuckles. Large, non-fragrant, narrow, trumpet-shaped flowers are scarlet to orangish red on the outside and yellowish inside.

Flowers appear in late spring at stem ends in whorled clusters. Flowers give way to small red berries which mature in fall and are attractive to birds.

Oval, bluish-green leaves on this native vine are glaucous beneath. This native vine is evergreen in the warm winter climates of the deep South, hence the species name of sempervirens (meaning "evergreen" in Latin). Although probably not indigenous to many parts trumpet honeysuckle has escaped cultivation and naturalized in some areas.

No serious insect or disease problems.

Best grown on trellises, fences, arbors or pergolas.

Lonicera dioica (limber or wild honeysuckle) is a more wild form of native vine honeysuckle that is used for larger habitats.

Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Common Name: Virginia creeper

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Vitaceae

Native Range: Eastern United States to Mexico

Height: 30 to 50 feet

Spread: 5 to 10 feet

Bloom Time: May - August

Bloom Color: Greenish white

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Fruit attracts birds, foliage has attractive fall color and fall color and the showy fruit lasts into winter.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade and a wide range of soil and environmental conditions.

This native is a deciduous, woody fast climber, that is found in open areas in ravines, rich woods and valleys. A vigorous tendril-climber that needs no support and typically grows 30-50'. Adheres to flat surfaces (e.g., brick, stone or wood walls) via adhesive disks at the tendril ends. Compound-palmate leaves (usually 5 leaflets, with each leaflet to 6" long) emerge purplish in spring, mature to dull green in summer and change to purple to crimson-red in autumn.

Fall color can be quite attractiveon this native vine. Clusters of small, greenish-white flowers appear in the upper leaf axils in late spring to early summer, but are generally hidden by the foliage. Flowers give way to dark blue to black berries which are attractive to birds. Closely related to and once included in the genus Ampelopsis.

No serious problems. Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems. Also susceptible to a number of insect pests including beetles, scale and leaf hoppers. Once attached to the side of a building or home, it becomes difficult to remove and will damage painted surfaces and leave residues.

A host plant for Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) butterfly.

Passion Vine Maypop

Passiflora incarnata

Common Name: wild passion flower 'Maypop'

Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Passifloraceae

Native Range: South and South Eastern United States North to Indiana and Illinois

Height: 10 to 15 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: July - September

Bloom Color: White with purple crown

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Very attractive flowers attract butterflies. This native is a host plant for Passionvine swallowtail butterflies.

Fruits are edible

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of drought. Roots appreciate a loose mulch. Although this species is the hardiest of the native passion flowers, it is not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 and may not survive extremely cold winters (I have grown this in Michigan with winter protection).

It is best to plant in a protected area and can be easily grown from seed.

Passion flower is a rapid-growing native with tendril-climbing abilities. A woody plant in warm winter climates and herbaceous (dies to the ground) in cold winter climates. A native of the Southeastern U.S. including and upto Indiana and Illinois, where it typically occurs in sandy soils, low moist woods and open areas. Features three-lobed, dark green leaves and showy, 2.5" diameter, fringed flowers having white petals and sepals and a central crown of pinkish-purple filaments.

Flowers bloom in summer and are fragrant. Fleshy, egg-shaped, edible fruits called maypops appear in July and mature to a yellowish color in fall. Ripened maypops can be eaten fresh off the vine or made into jelly. Maypop is also a common name for this vine.

No serious insect or disease problems for this native vining plant. Roots can spread aggressively.

May be used on trellises, arbors, walls or fences. The unique flower and edible fruit make this vine an extremely interesting plant for the garden.

Schisandra glabra (Bay Star-Vine or Climbing Magnolia):

S. glabra (syn. S. coccinea) can be found in the United States from Louisiana north to Arkansas and Kentucky, south to Tennessee, east to North Carolina and finally, south to Florida. is listed as endangered in Florida (listed as S. coccinea) and Kentucky. In Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, it is listed as threatened.

Invasive non-native species, such as Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle and urban sprawl are concerns for this native plant.

In the wild, the native vining plant grows as an understory plant twining up to fifteen feet around trees and bushes. Growing best in the shade of these larger plants, it will thrive in partial shade as well. It likes moist soil and for this reason, will most likely not set berries under drought conditions. Small crimson colored flowers appear from May to July closely followed by red berries in late July and August.

A wonderful plant for the home gardener, Bay star-vine brings beautiful greenery to shady spots of the garden.

It is often confused with Decumaria barbara (Climbing hydrangea), a common Vining plant in the Southeastern U.S.

b>Zone hardy : 7 to 9

The Schisandra is a deciduous woody vining specialist that is easily rooted from heel cuttings. A heel cutting should be at least two years old.

Collect cuttings in fall by pulling a stem down and away from the main stem or by using a sharp knife to cut the piece from main stem. Either process should bring a little of the main stem tissue with the cutting. This can then be placed in your choice of rooting medium and treated as you would any other cuttings.

Rosa setigera

Rosa setigera

Common Name: prairie rose

Zone: 5 to 8

Plant Type: Deciduous shrub

Family: Rosaceae

Native Range: Eastern and central North America

Height: 6 to 12 feet

Spread: 8 to 10 feet

Bloom Time: June

Bloom Color: Pink fading to whitish

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium to wet

Maintenance: Medium

These Natives of the Southeast,they are attractive, fragrant flowers attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Attractive fruits are food for birds and mammals.

General Culture:

Best grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering and disease resistance generally occur in full sun, however. Water deeply and regularly (mornings are best). Avoid overhead watering. Good air circulation promotes vigorous and healthy growth and helps control foliar diseases. Summer mulch helps retain moisture and keep roots cool.

Remove and destroy diseased leaves from plants (as practicable), and clean up and destroy dead leaves from the ground around the plants both during the growing season and as part of a thorough clean-up during winter (dormant season). Prune in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Prairie rose is a spreading, native plant (to 4' tall) or climber (to 15' tall with support) which typically occurs in moist soils along streams, in prairie thickets, along roads, fencerows, and in clearings throughout the State.

Features deep pink, single (5-petaled) flowers (to 2.5" across) which bloom in late spring to early summer. Mild fragrance. No repeat bloom. Shiny, dark green foliage turns variable but attractive shades of deep red, purple in late autumn. Red hips in early autumn

Problems:

Roses are susceptible to a large number of diseases, the most common of which are black spot, powdery mildew, rust and rose rosette. Although good cultural practices are the first line of defense in disease control, regular preventative fungicide applications throughout the growing season are often required in humid climates.

This species rose has better natural disease resistance than most of the hybrid roses. Potential insect problems include aphids, beetles, borers, scale, thrips, rose midges, leafhoppers and spider mites.

Vitis riparia:

V. labrusca (fox grape)

V. aestivalis (summer grape)

Vitis riparia, also commonly known as River Bank Grape or Frost Grape, is a native of America, climbing or trailing, this vining plant is widely distributed from Quebec to Texas, and Montana to New England. It is long-lived and capable of reaching into the upper canopy of the tallest trees. It produces dark fruit that are appealing to both birds and people, and has been used extensively in commercial viticulture as grafted rootstock and in hybrid grape breeding programs.

Mature plants have loose, fissured bark, and may attain several inches in diameter. Leaves are alternate, often with opposite tendrils or inflorescences, coarsely toothed, 5–25 cm (2–10in) long and 5–20 cm (2–8in) broad, sometimes with sparse hairs on the underside of veins.

The inflorescence is paniculate 4–15 cm (1.5–6 in) long and loose, and the flowers are small, fragrant, dioecious, and white or greenish in color. V. riparia blooms in May or June and produces a small 6–15 mm blue-black berry (grape) with a bloom, seeded, juicy, edible, vinous in flavor, lacking the "foxy" characteristics of Vitis labrusca, but usually quite sour and herbaceous. V. riparia has a wide range and may deviate considerably in detail from the above general description.

White berries, perfect flowers, large clusters, large berries, and sweet fruit are among the known variations. However, some observers consider such variations as evidence of natural hybridization with other species of grapes.

V. riparia has the largest geographical range of any of the North American Vitis species. It is present across nearly the entire eastern half of North America, excepting the far south and the most western portions of the great plains. Variants of the species have been observed as far north as Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada and as far west as Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

Other native vining plants of the southeast. for the wildlife habitats would be Smilax spp: or common name of Greenbrier.

Several species of Smilax (Greenbrier) are native to the Northeast and Great Lakes region, but may be considered Natives of the Southeast as well. Not a particularly attractive plant, Greenbriers offer food and protection for several species of birds and animals.

Woody or Herbaceous and many are endangered species. These native vines need male and female flowers to pollinate.

There are 20 native species in North America north of Mexico.

They are climbing flowering plants, many of which are woody and/or thorny.

Common names include catbriers, greenbriers, prickly-ivys and smilaxes. Occasionally, the non-woody species such as the Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier (S. herbacea) is called "carrion flowers" for the unpleasing oder they emit.

Native Wisteria

Native Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) is another under used native Vines of the Southeast that grows throughout much of the region.

Not as aggressive as the introduced Asian cousin.

Unlike Chinese wisteria, American wisteria may bloom sporadically through the summer if conditions are favorable.

American wisteria is a host plant for several species of butterflies, including the long-tailed skipper, for example. Native bees frequent the flowers.

Several Native Vines of the Southeast also grace the wet, swampy regions of Florida and other parts of the deep south. However, most are not suitable for the home garden.

Native Vines of the Southeast and other Regions

Trees of the Southeast

Shrubs of the Southeast

Flowers of the Southeast

Grasses of the Southeast

Feeding Birds

Offer Fresh Water




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