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Clematis virginiana

Previously known as:

  • Clematis canadensis
Phonetic Spelling
KLEM-ah-tiss ver-jin-ee-AY-nah
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Woodbine, a native of central and eastern United States and Canada, is a woody, perennial vine in the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. It is a rapid grower and can reach 15 to 20 feet high, climbing by its clinging leaf stalks, and 3 to 6 feet wide. Its name derives from the Greek word klÄ“matis, meaning brushwood or broken branches, perhaps owing to its fragile stems. 

It prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial to some deep shade. It is one of the few vines that will flower in shade. It can be pruned any time during the growing season to maintain shape and encourage bushiness. Pruning can be as low as 8 to 12 inches above ground if a couple of healthy leaf buds are on the remaining stalks. The best time to prune for the next year is late fall to early spring. Propagate by layering, seed, or stem cutting.

Woodbine has showy, fragrant blooms in the autumn. It attracts a variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds. This plant may be less frequently damaged by deer and rabbits. Requiring less maintenance, the male plant is not adorned with seeds (versus the female which does produce seeds) but is showy (in comparison to the female version).

This easy to grow vine works well in a woodland, native, pollinator, or shade garden where it has room to twine up supports or fences, otherwise, it will scramble along the ground and it can grow over and overwhelm landscape shrubs. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:   Clematis wilt, powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust, and viruses can be problematic. Potential insect pests include aphids, vine weevils, slugs/snails, scale, and earwigs. Watch for spider mites. It self-seeds and can become weedy. 

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Woodbine'
'Woodbine'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#fall flowers#white flowers#easy to grow#wildlife plant#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#fast growing#trellises#deer resistant#feathery#native garden#groundcover#self-seeding#native vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#arbor#moth larvae#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#black walnut toxicity tolerant#Audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Woodbine'
'Woodbine'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#fall flowers#white flowers#easy to grow#wildlife plant#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#fast growing#trellises#deer resistant#feathery#native garden#groundcover#self-seeding#native vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#arbor#moth larvae#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#black walnut toxicity tolerant#Audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Clematis
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Aboriginals and Native Americans used this plant for medicinal purposes. An extract of the stems was used as a hallucinogen. The Cherokee used an infusion combined with milkweed for backache and as an ingredient in ceremonial green corn medicine. An infusion of the root was used for stomach trouble and nerves and also for kidney problems by the Cherokee and the Iroquois. The Iroquois also used an infusion of the roots to treat venereal disease sores.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. Canada to Central & E. U.S.A.
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds and bees.
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Dense
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Female plants have brown plume-like feathery seed-heads that resemble an old man's beard. Fruit displays from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Dioecious plants with fragrant 1 1/4" white flowers with four narrow sepal-like petals form in axillary panicles bloom from July to September. The blooms cover the whole plant including the foliage in many clusters arising from the leaf axils.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Compound trifoliate green leaves with 3-5 toothed oval to elliptic leaflets are 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Leaf petioles are 2 inches long and act like tendrils as the vine twines up supports. Undersides have hairs along the veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Round to squarish stems are green to purplish with hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Clematis can cause severe mouth pain and ulcers if eaten. Toxic to dogs, cats, horses. Clinical signs are salivation, vomiting, diarrhea. In humans, symptoms may include dizziness, confusion, fainting, and convulsions. Fatalities are rare, due to the rapid and intense bitter taste and mouth irritation from eating. Gastric lavage is recommended and anti-inflammatory to soothe irritated tissue. Contact dermatitis results in skin redness and burning sensation for some people, gardening gloves are recommended.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    protoanemonin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Sap/Juice