The Two Clematis Plants of Dyke Marsh

Virgins Bower Clematis Virginiana. Photo by Ned Stone

A stand of native clematis, Clematis Virginiana, has been growing on a shrub along the “long bridge” (bridge 23) in Dyke Marsh on the Mount Vernon Trail.  This is not the same as the non-native clematis that FODM “weed whackers” try to control, a plant called sweet autumn clematis or Clematis Terniflora.  

Clematis Virginiana has the same little, white, four-bladed propeller flowers as Clematis Terniflora, but the leaf has a coarsely-toothed edge (see photo).  Terniflora, the invasive, has smooth leaf edges (“entire” in the argot of botany).  Both types have the characteristic side stems at right angles to the vine.  Both types are vines, are referred to as virgin’s bower and some say that both are aggressive.  Virginiana was in bloom in August 2017 and Terniflora will be a little later in the fall.

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