Clematis Species

The description of species is a little more detailed than that given for hybrids. They are much more diverse in shape and size and they come from different parts of the world. Species need little pruning and can be left to ramble at will through hedges, trees, etc., but where there are confined spaces, such as on walls, then some pruning is sometimes necessary. The early-flowering varieties such as C. alpina, C. macropetala and C. montana need no pruning but can, if necessary, be cut back directly after flowering, which will be in the early summer, thus giving them plenty of time to grow during the summer. The later-flowering varieties can be cut back hard, treating them as Jackmaniis, but here again, if space is no object, they can be left to garland gracefully everything within their reach.

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C. addisonii
Moderately vigorous but needs protection. Height to 38 cm (15 in). Flowers: pitcher shaped; 2.5 cm (1 in) long; four fleshy sepals; rosy-purple sepals and cream stamens. Flowers early summer. Leaves are solitary. Pruning -hard. A short herbaceous clematis from the USA.
C. afoliata (rush-stemmed clematis)
Moderately vigorous; needs protection. Male and female plants. Height to 2.4 m (8 ft). Flowers: tubular; 1.2-1.8 cm ( 1/2 - 3/4 in); four sepals; pale yellow sepals; daphne scent. Flowers late spring. Three leaflets. Pruning -tidy. An untidy, tender, interesting clematis from New Zealand, suitable for borders.
C. alpina (the alpine virgin's bower)
Vigorous, hardy, and easy to grow. Height to 2.4 m (8 ft). Flowers: nodding bells; 4 cm (1 1/2 in); four sepals with staminodes between sepals and stamens; lavender blue sepals; white staminodes. Flowers mid-spring. Leaves are double ternate. Pruning -tidy. First clematis to appear in spring. Excellent for north-facing walls and scrambling over rocks, tree stumps, etc. A number of varieties are available:
C. a. 'Burford White' -white flowers;
C. a. 'Columbine' -pale blue flowers;
C. a. 'Frances Rivis' -deep blue (largest flower);
C. a. 'Jacqueline du Pre' -mauve-pink flowers (very vigorous);
C. a. 'Pamela Jackman'- mid-blue flowers;
C. a. 'Ruby' -rosy-red flowers;
C. a. 'Rosy Pagoda' -pale pink flowers;
C. a. 'Sibirica' -creamy-white flowers;
C. a. 'White Moth' -double white flowers.
C. armandii (Armand's clematis)
Very vigorous on warm wall. Height to 9cm (30 ft). Flowers: in clusters; 5 cm (2 in) across; four to six sepals; sepals are white with yellow stamens; conspicuous vanilla fragrance. Flowers mid-spring. Variety' Apple Blossom' is pale pink, and 'Snowdrift' is pure white. Evergreen. Large dark green leathery ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. This Chinese clematis is grown for its delicious scent in spring and handsome foliage. Needs plenty of room.
C. chrysocoma (the hairy clematis)
Very vigorous and hardy. Height to 6 m (20ft). Flowers: cup shaped; 6cm (2 1/2 in); four sepals; sepals pale pink and creamy stamens. Flowers late spring. Young shoots and leaves covered with golden hairy down. Ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. This Chinese clematis is akin to a montana but more desirable as less rampant.
C. cirrhosa (the tendril clematis)
Vigorous on a warm wall. Height to 4 m (15 ft). Flowers: bell shaped; 4-5 cm (1 1/2-2 in); four sepals; creamy-white sepals with no freckles. Flowers early winter to mid-spring. Tri-lobed ovate leaves. Pruning -tidy. Very similar to, but not as popular as, C. cirrhosa var. balearica -no freckles and no fern-like leaves.
C. cirrhosa var. balearica (syn. C. calycina) (the fern-leaved clematis)
Vigorous on sheltered wall. Height to 6 m (20 ft). Flowers: bell shaped; 4-5 cm (1 1/2-2 in); four sepals; yellow-white sepals with reddish-maroon freckles. Flowers early winter to mid-spring. Scented - citrus. Evergreen; fern-like. Pruning -tidy. From the Balearic islands. Can easily be confused with C. cirrhosa, which is less vigorous. Ideal under glass if room available.
C. crispa (the curly clematis)
Moderately vigorous. Height to 1.5m (5 ft). Flowers: bell shaped; 4-5 cm (1-1 1/2 in); four sepals; sepals are pale blue with cream stamens; scented. Flowers early summer to early autumn. Five to seven leaflets. Pruning -hard. From the United States.
C. x durandii (Durand's clematis)
Vigorous and free flowering herbaceous type. Height to 1.2 m (4 ft). Flowers: 10-15 cm (4-6 in); four to six sepals; indigo-blue sepals and yellow-white stamens. Flowers continuously mid-summer to mid-autumn. The leaves are solitary. Pruning -hard. Like a sub-shrub. Lovely flower for cutting.
C. x eriostemon 'Hendersonii'
Vigorous, hardy, semi-herbaceous type. Height to 2.4 m (8 ft). Flowers: nodding bell; 5 cm (2 in); four sepals; blue-purple sepals and green-yellow stamens. Flowers mid-summer to mid-autumn. The leaves are simple. Pruning -hard. True to its herbaceous nature, it dies down to the ground in winter.
C. fargesii var. souliei (Farges's clematis)
Vigorous. 7.5 m (25 ft). Flowers: in threes; 5- 7.5 cm (2-3 in); six sepals; sepals are white with greenish-white stamens. Flowers continuously early summer to early autumn. Hairy, two or three-lobed leaves. Pruning -hard. A Chinese clematis said to grow well in cold climates.
C. flammula (clematis of a little flame or star, or the fragrant Virgin's bower)
Very vigorous. Height to 6 m (20 ft). Flowers: cruciform and produced in abundance; 2.4-4cm (1-1 1/2 in); four sepals; white sepals and white stamens; hawthorn scent. Flowers late summer to mid-autumn. Biternate leaves. Pruning -optional. Exceptional south European clematis for a scented mass effect in autumn.
C. florida 'Sieboldiana' (syn. C.f. 'Bicolor')
Not vigorous and needs protected environment. Height to 3 m (10 ft). Flowers: dramatic; 10 cm (4 in).; five or six sepals; sepals are greenish-white with purple prominent stamens. Flowers early summer to early autumn. Five leaflets. Pruning -light. This Japanese plant is eye-catching (same effect as passion flower), but tricky to grow.
C. forsteri
Not vigorous and needs protection. Height to 3.6 m (12 ft). Flowers: numerous; 1.8 cm (3/4 in); five to eight sepals; sepals are greenish-yellow with golden stamens; lemon scent. Flowers early summer. Evergreen. Ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. Tender New Zealand evergreen.
C. fusca (dark-colored clematis)
Vigorous and hardy. Height to 3.6 m (12 ft). Flowers: unusual; urn shaped; four sepals, 2 cm (3/4 in); thick sepals are purple but covered with dark brown hairs, a pale green inside, and with cream stamens. Flowers mid-summer. Leaves have five to nine leaflets. Pruning -hard. A curiosity from Asia. Most unclematis-like. An arresting cut flower.
C. heracleifolia var. davidiana
Vigorous herbaceous plant. Height to 90 cm (3 ft). Flowers: in dense clusters like a hyacinth; 4cm (1 1/2 in); four to six sepals; lavender-blue sepals; very scented. Flowers mid-summer. Ternate leaves. Pruning -hard. Good bushy clematis from China. Variety 'Wyevale' is an 'improved' version of above, with more prominent yellow stamens.
C. integrifolia (simple leaf clematis, or Hungarian clematis)
Vigorous herbaceous type. Height to 60 cm (2 ft). Flowers: nodding bell; 2.5 cm (1 in); four sepals; purple-blue sepals and creamy stamens. Flowers mid-summer. Leaves simple. Pruning -hard. This clematis is the best known herbaceous clematis. Variety 'Olgae' is larger, a clear blue and scented; 'Pastel Blue' is larger, light blue and scented; 'Rosea', with bright pink coloring and scented, is outstanding.
C. x jouiniana 'Praecox' (after the Frenchman, Jouin)
Vigorous and free flowering. Height to 3m (10ft). Flowers: 4-5 cm (1 1/2 - 2in); four to six sepals; bluish-white sepals. Flowers in mid-summer to mid-autumn. Three to five leaflets. Golden yellow in autumn. Pruning -hard. Useful tumbling down a bank or scrambling over a conifer bed.
C. macropetala (large-petalled, or the downy clematis)
Very vigorous and hardy. Height to 4.5 m (15 ft). Flowers: double, nodding bell; 6-8 cm (2 1/2 - 3 in); sepals and outer staminodes are lavender-blue and inner staminodes are white; flowering mid- and late spring. Young shoots covered with down. Biternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. Outstanding Asian clematis. Has to be grown for joyfulness in spring. Will stand shade and a north wall. Variety 'Bluebird' is a deep blue; 'Markham's Pink' is a lovely pink; and 'Rosy O'Grady', a darker pink, is very popular.
C. marmoraria (of marble)
Vigorous low sub-shrub grown as alpine. Height to 6 cm (3 1/4 in). Flowers: male 2-3 cm (3/4 - 1 in), female 1.6-2.4cm (1/2 - 1 in); sepals white. Flowers in spring. Leathery, hairy, leaves. Pruning -tidy. From New Zealand. Smallest known clematis, an attractive curiosity and a 'must' for rockery enthusiasts.
C. maximowicziana (after the curator of the Leningrad Botanical Institute) (syn. C. paniculata)
Very vigorous. Height to 9 m (30 ft). Flowers: cruciform; 3 cm (1 1/4 in); white sepals, hawthorn scented; flowering early and mid-autumn. Three to five leaflets. Pruning -optional. A Japanese late-flowering option to C. flammula.
C. montana (the mountain clematis or Indian virgin's bower)
Very vigorous but not for cold climates. Height to 9 m (30 ft) and above in some varieties. Flowers: in profusion; 5 cm (2 in); four sepals; sepals are white with pale-cream stamens. Flowers for a short period in late spring. Some varieties are scented. Ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. This Himalayan clematis is ideal for a mass effect in spring where there is plenty of room. A large number of varieties exist, including C.m. , Alexander' -white flowers, scented, slow to start; C.m. 'Elizabeth' -pale pink flowers, vanilla scent; C. m. 'Grandiflora' -larger white flowers, most vigorous of all clematis, no scent; C. m. 'Mayleen' -large deep pink flowers, bronze foliage, scented; C. m. 'Pink Perfection' -deep pink flowers, scented; C. m. 'Tetrarose' -lilac rose, large flowers, scented, bronze foliage; C. m. 'Wilsonii' -creamy, scent of hot chocolate, flowers later than others.
C. napaulensis (the Nepal clematis) (syn. C. forrestii)
Not vigorous and needs protection. Height to 7.5 m (25 ft). Flowers: bell- shaped clusters; 3 cm (1 1/4 in); four sepals are 2 cm (3/4 in) long and stamens 3 cm (1 1/4 in); creamy white sepals and protruding maroon stamens. Flowers mid-winter. Semi-evergreen. Ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. A Himalayan clematis which makes a winter curiosity for those with abundant glass.
C. orientalis (oriental clematis)
Vigorous but likes sun. Height to 6 m (20 ft). Flowers: usually opening wide or recurved; 5 cm (2 in); four sepals; yellow sepals and brown stamens. Flowers mid- summer to mid-autumn. Prominent seed heads. Finely cut foliage. Prune -optional. This late-flowering clematis is very popular for its yellow coloring and seed heads.
C. recta (the straight clematis)
Vigorous herbaceous type. Height to 1.5 m (4 ft). Flowers: panicles of bloom; cruciform; 1.8-3 cm (3/4 -1 1/2 in); white sepals. Flowers mid-summer; scented. Five to six leaflets. Pruning -hard. This European clematis can make a good bush in the border.
C. rehderiana (Rehder's clematis, or the nodding virgin's bower)
Vigorous but needs sun. Height to 6 m (20 ft). Flowers: in panicles; nodding bells; 1.2cm (1/2 in); four sepals; primrose-yellow sepals. Flowers late summer to mid-autumn; cowslip scent. Five to nine leaflets. Pruning -optional. Interesting Chinese curiosity for late summer.
C. serratifolia (cut-leaf clematis)
Vigorous and free flowering. Needs sun. Height to 3.5 m (12 ft). Flowers: open bell; 4-5 cm (1 1/2 -2 in); four sepals; primrose-yellow sepals and purple stamens; lemon-scented; seed heads. Flowers late summer and early autumn. Biternate leaves. Pruning -optional. From Korea.
C. spooneri (syn. C. chrysocoma var. sericea)
Very vigorous and free flowering. Height to 9 cm (30 ft). Flowers: clustered; 8 cm (3 in); four sepals; white sepals and yellow stamens; no scent. Flowers late spring. Ternate downy leaves. Pruning -tidy. Similar to montanas and chrysocoma, superior in size of white flowers, but lacking scent.
C. tangutica 'Gravetye' (from Tangut, Tibet)
Very vigorous. Height to 6m (20ft). Flowers: bell- or lantern-shaped; 2.5-4cm (1-1 1/2in); four sepals; yellow sepals and brownish stamens; seed heads. Flowers mid-summer to mid-autumn. Five to seven leaflets. Pruning -hard. Easily confused with C. orientalis; it is from the same sub-group but said to have better seed heads and flowers more lantern-shaped.
C. texensis (the Texan clematis) (syn. C. coccinea) 'Duchess of Albany'
Vigorous semi-herbaceous plant. Height to 2.4 m (8 ft). Flowers: pitcher or urn- shaped; 2.5 cm (1 in); four to six sepals; fleshy pink sepals with rose-pink bars and cream stamens. Flowers late summer to mid-autumn. Three to five heart-shaped leaflets. Pruning -hard. American. Related varieties are: 'Etoile Rose', cerise-pink flowers with sepals edged in silver; 'Gravetye Beauty', crimson sepals and red stamens; 'Sir Trevor Lawrence', deep carmine sepals and cream stamens. All the texensis are outstanding for their showy, intriguing flowers.
C. x vedrariensis
Vigorous. Height to 6 m (20 ft). Flowers: cup shaped; 7-8 cm (3 in); four to six sepals; sepals rosy-mauve. Flowers late spring. Golden hairs on shoots and young leaves. Ternate leaves. Pruning -tidy. A cross between C. chrysocoma and C. montana var. rubens.
C. viticella (the purple virgin's bower)
Very vigorous, hardy and free flowering. Height to 6m (12 ft). Flowers: saucer shaped; 4-6 cm (1 1/2 - 2 1/2 in); four sepals; purple sepals and green stamens. Flowers mid-summer to early autumn. Five to seven leaflets. Pruning -hard. This clematis is usually grown in one of the following forms:
C. v. 'Abundance'-striking pink-red sepals with creamy green stamens;
C. v. 'Alba Luxurians'-creamy white sepals with green tips and creamy-green stamens;
C. v. 'Etoile Violette' -large flowers, purple sepals and creamy-yellow stamens;
C. v. 'Purpurea Plena Elegans' -violet-purple double flowers (makes unusual cut flowers);
C. v. 'Royal Velours' -reddish-purple sepals and reddish stamens;
C. v. 'Rubra' -velvety crimson sepals and brown stamens.
'Margot Koster' and 'Mme Julia Correvon', have large flowers. The viticellas, from southern Europe, are outstanding for their hardiness, free flowering and disease resistance.
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