Book of Mediterranean Trees, Shrubs and Climbers


Clematis flammula  
Family Ranunculaceae
Genus Clematis    
Species flammula   
Properties climber
Clematis flammula is a temperate liana known by the common name fragrant virgin's bower. It is native to southern Europe and northern Africa, but it is cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant in gardens. The woody vine bears fragrant white flowers and small green achenes. When the flowers are newly opened they have a strong sweet almond fragrance. The vine grows in a tangled mass that is heavily sprinkled with flowers throughout the warmer months. It is popular with gardeners as a decoration along fences and trellises, or as ground cover. If the vine has no other plants or structures to climb on, it will climb on itself, forming a large, densely tangled bush. The plant sends out many shoots and can reach over five metres in height. It is sweet-smelling but poisonous. In some areas, this species has become a nuisance after its introduction. It is a weed outside of gardens and landscaped areas. Clematis flammula var. maritima is a hardier variety that is adapted to sand dunes. It is currently being studied as an agent of soil stabilization on eroded sandy beaches.
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