Clematis crispa L.

Swamp Leather Flower

Clematis crispa plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stem - Twining through other vegetation, to 3 m. Nodes with a thickened collar of tissue joining opposite petioles.


Leaves - Opposite, pinnately compound, leaflets usually undivided but sometimes lobed, with entire margins, surfaces glabrous.


Flowers - Solitary, urn-shaped, nodding. Sepals 4, petalloid, 3-4 cm long with strongly reflexed tips, leathery, pinkish to bluish-purple, with 3-5 mm wide crisped margins, externally pubescent, internally glabrous. Petals absent. Stamens and pistils numerous.





Fruits - In clusters, with achene beaks ascending to spreading. Achenes with beaks 2.0-3.5 cm long.


Flowering - April - August.

Habitat - Bottomland and mesic forests, swamps, wet ditches.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This attractive species is found in Missouri only in the far southeastern corner. Since the plant twines and sprawls through other vegetation, it is usually inconspicuous except when in flower. It is easily identified by the shape of the flower and the presence of the characteristic crisped margins.
Several of the photos above were taken in wet roadside ditches. In the southeastern part of the state, these can be goldmines of unusual plant species.

Photographs taken near Neelyville, Butler County, MO, 5-21-2014, and at Duck Creek Conservation Area, Wayne County, MO, 5-13-2016 (SRTurner).