Thursday, August 26, 2010

Virgin's Bower

Virgin’s Bower, Clematis virginiana, is a wonderful native plant that would fit nicely into the home landscape. This is a relative to the clematis of the home garden scene and though the petals are not nearly as developed as the garden varieties, the flowers bear a striking resemblance to the domesticated plants many people cherish. The most interesting feature has to be the seed cluster, which resembles a dried, multi-tentacled sea creature.

The thick, three parted leaf makes the plant even more recognizable. There is an exotic species in Ohio that resembles Virgin’s Bower, but the leaves on the alien have no teeth on their margins.

Like most of our native plants, Virgin’s Bower is considered a tasty treat by many species. The track pattern on the leaves is evidence that this particular plant is hosting several leaf miners.

The way it climbs and sprawls over everything in the vicinity is a dead giveaway that this is truly a Clematis. It’s a demure vine that rarely does any damage to the neighboring vegetation. The plant doesn’t go in for deadly strangle holds and it never gets large enough to drag other plants down with its weight. It’s just a nice cohabitant of the thicket.

The natural flower color is a bright creamy white that appears to glow even in the shade. Normal pollinators are small bees or flies. Of course, the local ants have found something for themselves in these flowers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve...that does resemble the garden variety!! Very pretty flower and a nice vine that seem to happy minding its own business!!