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Clematis virginiana

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Plant types and subtypes: Vines

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, sand

Height: 10'-15'

Bloom Time: July, August, September

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green, blue-green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, climbing, deer resistant, fall interest, fragrant flowers, medicinal, naturalizing, poisonous

Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles)
  • Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles)
  • seeds of Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles)

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Description

Clematis virginiana

Also known as:

devil's darning needles

,

virgin's bower

,

old man's beard

,

woodbine

Scientific Synonyms:

Clematis virginiana var. missouriensis

Description

Clematis virginiana is a fine textured, dense growing vine. It attaches itself by twisting delicate stems and therefore does not damage its structural support. The toothed leaves are opposite, can be simple or compound, and are yellowish green to dark green. Beginning as early as mid-summer and sometimes extending until early fall, it produces dense clusters of delicate, whitish flowers. By mid-fall, the leaves turn attractive shades of yellow, and the flower heads give way to wispy, white, feathery achenes that persist well into winter.

Cultivation

Very easy to cultivate in average to rich soil, under part sun to part shade. The dense growth makes it ideal to conceal fences and other light structures. The stems are light and will not damage their support. Established plants are fast growing ( up to 15' in one season) and can be cut down hard in early spring to get rid of dead stems. It prefers a location that remains moist, however, mature plants are tolerant of dry conditions, particularly if in a shaded spot. A sunnier position will produce a denser plant and more profuse flowers. Both cold hardy and heat tolerant: zones 3-9

Propagation

Clematis virginiana self seeds readily. Collected seeds should be cold stratified for at least 2 month before sowing. Fresh seeds may be sown directly outdoors. It is very easy to propagate from softwood cuttings or by layering.

Additional Notes

Often confused with the exotic invasive Clematis terniflora (autumn clematis), the leaves of the latter are blueish, have smooth margins, and often a prominent white central vein. Also, the flowers of the introduced species are much more fragrant than those of our native species whose scent is very mild. All parts of the plant should be considered poisonous. Sensitivity will vary per individual. Skin irritation is the most common effect, but it is minor and short lived. All parts of the plant have been used in traditional native American medicine.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Ranunculales
Family Ranunculaceae Buttercup family
Genus Clematis leather flower
Species Clematis virginiana devil's darning needles