Clematis virginiana

In the summer the flowers of this perennial vine display a fringe of white pistils and stamens above four white sepals.  The vine drapes itself over nearby vegetation so it resembles a Virgin’s Bower, hence its name by which it is commonly known.

Later in the summer each flower produces many fruits and each fruit with its seed is topped by a long, feathery, white streamer.  The fruits are arranged in a dense pinwheel where the flower had been.

By wintertime each flower location has become a fluffy white ball that looks like an Old Man’s Beard.  The Boone Greenway Trail is edged by these Virgin’s Bower vines which display their flowers in early summer and now display the Old Man’s Beard look.  The accompanying photo, taken December 24, 2011, shows the early winter face of this beautiful vine.

About Tom

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Appalachian State University.
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