Clematis

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Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. They are popular among gardeners[1] with more cultivars being produced constantly. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are also known as traveller's joy, old man's beard, leather flower, vase vine and virgin's bower, the last three being names used for North American species.

Contents

Etymology

The genus name is pronounced /ˈklɛmətɨs/,[2] from Ancient Greek klématis, a climbing plant, probably periwinkle. There are over two hundred species and cultivars, often named for their originators or particular characteristics.

Botany

The genus is composed of mostly vigorous, woody, climbing vines / lianas. The woody stems are quite fragile until several years old.[1] Leaves are opposite and divided into leaflets and leafstalks that twist and curl around supporting structures to anchor the plant as it climbs.[1] Some species are shrubby, and some others are herbaceous perennial plants. The cool temperate species are deciduous, but many of the warmer climate species are evergreen. They grow best when their roots are shaded but their tops are in full sun. They are generally acid-intolerant calciphytes that grow on limestone and other basic soils.

The timing and location of flowers varies; spring-blooming clematis flower on the previous year's stems, summer/fall blooming clematis bloom only on the ends of new stems, and twice-flowering clematis do both at the respective times.[1]

Clematis species are mainly found throughout the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, rarely in the tropics. Clematis leaves are food for the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, including the Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria).

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