Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - A Shrubby Clematis

Not all Clematis are vines; quite a few species are herbaceous perennials with determinate aerial shoots that form upright clumps, sort of semi-woody shrubs. Until you know this, the first time you encounter such a beast, and you have the floral characters of Clematis firmly attached mentally to a viny growth form, it can be very confusing. The Phactor's particular favorite among these is Clematis heracleifolia, whose specific epithet combines the name of the mythological hero Heracles (Hercules) with a suffix meaning leaves, heroically strong leaves? Generally the flowers are at the small end of the scale in this genus at about 1 inch in diameter , but they are a handsome dark blue and borne inclusters in the axils of upper leaves blooming in the late summer and fall. Although a bit coarse the foliage remains a nice dark green even in hot and dry conditions. Looks can be deceiving and in just a couple of years the plant can form a substantial clump of shoots up to 4 feet in diameter, a nice addition to any perennial garden. Last year's aerial shoots should be removed each spring.


Laura Bloomsbury said...

love your Friday flowers - always so ununusual and informative. The blue clematis non-vine is divine. Mehercle!


The Phytophactor said...

We do so aim to please.