Sweet Autumn Clematis
Deciduous, Vines, Semi-evergreen
Of the more than 200 clematis species, most are deciduous vines; exceptions include the useful evergreen vine C. armandii, as well as some interesting upright herbaceous types.
Attractive blooms come in a wide variety of shapes; they may resemble bells, stars, tulips, saucers, urns—even miniature lanterns. Each flower consists of a central brush of stamens surrounded by petallike segments called sepals. Range of flower colors is wide, from pastel pinks to crimson red; periwinkle blue through soft lavender shades, rich magenta, and dark purple; and pure white through creamy tones and even golden yellow. Unless otherwise specified, blooms are 4–6 in. across. Float cut flowers in a bowl of water to make a choice indoor display. Burn cut ends of stems with a match to make flowers last longer. The blossoms of the large-flowered hybrids and a few species are followed by fluffy clusters of seed heads, also useful for flower arrangements.
Leaves vary from pale to dark green, usually divided into leaflets. Leafstalks twist and curl to hold plant to its support.
The plant is semievergreen in milder areas. Native to China, Korea, and Japan. Very fast growing to 20 ft., with dark green leaves consisting of three to five oval leaflets. Produces masses of fragrant, creamy white flowers in late summer to fall. Can reseed. Plant in a warm, sunny location. Makes a good privacy screen or arbor cover. Often confused with C. paniculata, a similar species from New Zealand.
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