Clematis versicolor Small

Leather Flower

Clematis versicolor plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stems - Sprawling to climbing, herbaceous, glabrous or with a few hairs at nodes, terete ar with rounded angles, reddish-brown, branching.

Leaves - Opposite. odd-pinnately compound with 3-7 leaflets. Petiolules of lateral leaflets to 2cm long. Petiolule of terminal leaflet longer. Leaflets entire, ovate to rotund, blunt at apex, mucronate, glabrous above, glabrous or with a few sparse hairs below, glaucous below, to +6cm long, +4.5cm broad. Terminal leaflet twining.

Clematis versicolor leaf

Inflorescence - Single pedunculate flowers from leaf axils. Peduncles subtended by a pair of foliaceous bracts. Peduncles to 10cm long, purple, glabrous, bent at apex.

Flowers - Apetalous, urcreolate. Sepals 4, thick, spongy, purple at base fading to greenish-white at apex externally, white internally, joined near base, recurving at apices, acute, to +2cm long, 1cm broad at base. Stamens many (+50), included. Filaments to 1.2cm long, pubescent, creamy white. Anthers pale yellow, .7mm long. Pistils dense villous for entire length, 1.6cm long.

Clematis versicolor flower

Clematis versicolor flower

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Rocky open woods, bluff ledges, rocky ravines.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - In Missouri, there are a few species of these purple flowered Clematis that look alike. When I get them all posted you can see the differences for yourself.
C. versicolor is a striking plant and is being used in cultivation. It is found in south-central Missouri in the Ozarks. It seems to prefer locations with a shady northern or eastern exposure.

Photographs taken off County Road SE K-36, McDonald County, MO., 6-3-00.