Clematis dioscoreifolia Levl & Vaniot - Virgin's Bower

Clematis dioscoreifolia plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stems - Twining to trailing or climbing, somewhat woody near base, herbaceous above, glabrous, carinate, much branched.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate, twining, odd pinnately compound with typically 5-7 leaflets. Petiole to 4cm long, with an adaxial groove, sparse pubescent to glabrous. Leaflets ovate to ovate lanceolate or orbicular, some cordate at base, with petiolules to 3cm long and twining, entire, mucronate, deep green and glabrous above, dull green and sparse pubescent below, to +7cm long, +4cm broad.

Clematis dioscoreifolia leaf

Inflorescence - Axillary panicles. Peduncles and pedicels carinate, glabrous to sparse pubescent.

Flowers - Petals absent. Petaloid sepals 4, white to cream, to -2cm long, glabrous above, pubescent to sparse pilose below. Stamens +30. Filaments white, glabrous, to +/-8mm long. Anthers whitish to pale yellow, to 2mm long. Pistils 5, distinct, 8mm long, sericeous. Flowers fragrant. Achenes to 8mm long when mature, with persistent plumose style.

Clematis dioscoreifolia flower

Clematis dioscoreifolia flower

Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Cultivated. Also escaped to waste ground, empty lots, roadsides.

Origin - Native to Japan.

Other info. - This is a showy and fragrant plant when in flower. The flowers are about 4-5cm broad and attract many good flying insects. The seeds are distributed by the wind and the plant escapes cultivation easily. It probably will become a pest in the future.
A more modern synonym is C. terniflora DC.

Photograph taken off Moore's Mill Road, Auburn, AL., 8-26-04.


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