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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The flowers of Virgin's Bower are attractive and often abundantly produced; the staminate flowers are slightly more showy than the pistillate flowers. The achenes with their silky-hairy styles are also interesting because of their unusual appearance. The only other species that resembles Virgin's Bower in Illinois is Clematis terniflora (Autumn Clematis), which has been introduced from East Asia as an ornamental plant. Autumn Clematis is also a woody vine that produces masses of white or cream flowers. The flowers of this latter species, in my experience, are slightly larger (about 1" across) and more fragrant than those of Virgin's Bower. These two species can be easily distinguished by their foliage
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial plant is a woody vine up to 20' long. Its stems can twine about fences and adjacent vegetation and they branch occasionally. These stems are initially green or dull red, but they eventually turn brown and woody; young stems are sparsely pubescent, round or angular, and become somewhat enlarged at the base of the petioles. The opposite leaves are primarily trifoliate, although some of them are simple. The petioles of these leaves are up to 2" long; they are green or dull red and sparsely pubescent, like the stems. The leaflets and simple leaves are up to 4" long and 2" across; they are ovate, dentate or shallowly cleft along the margins, and nearly hairless. The underside of each leaf may be slightly pubescent, especially along the major veins. Each leaflet has its own petiole (petiolule); the petiole of the terminal leaflet is longer than those of the lateral leaflets. Occasionally, flat-headed panicles of white flowers are produced from the axils of the leaves. Each panicle can span several inches across. A single vine can produce all staminate flowers (male), all pistillate flowers (female), or all perfect flowers (both male & female). Regardless of its gender, each flower is about ¾" across and has 4 petal-like sepals that are white or cream. Each staminate flower has abundant long stamens in its center that have white filaments and pale yellow anthers. Each pistillate flower has several green carpels in its center, each with a short curly style. Each perfect flower has green carpels in its center, which are surrounded by one or two rows of stamens. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer and lasts about a month. The staminate flowers quickly wither away, but each of the pistillate and perfect flowers develop a cluster of pubescent achenes with elongated styles (up to 2" long) that are more or less hairy. These achenes and their persistent styles are initially green and silky in appearance, but they eventually turn brown. Each achene contains a single large seed. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Virgin's Bower occurs occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is a little more common in northern and western Illinois than other areas of the state. Habitats include edges of woodlands, moist thickets, moist meadows in floodplain areas, banks of rivers and large drainage ditches, and fence rows. Virgin's Bower can be found in both disturbed and natural areas. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental garden plant.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Clematis virginiana var. missouriensis (Rydb.) E.J. Palmer & Steyerm.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Choripetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 2. 655 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1704 External link.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Clematis virginiana L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Man., N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Stems climbing, 2-7 m. Leaf blade 3-foliolate; leaflets ovate to lanceolate, 3.5-9 × 1.5-7.5 cm, margins coarsely toothed to entire; surfaces abaxially sparsely to densely pilose, adaxially glabrate. Inflorescences axillary, 3-many-flowered simple or compound cymes. Flowers unisexual; pedicel slender, 1-2 cm; sepals wide-spreading, not recurved, white to cream, elliptic or nearly oblong to oblanceolate, 6-14 mm, abaxially densely white-hairy, adaxially sparsely white-hairy; stamens ca. 30-50+; filaments glabrous; staminodes absent or fewer than stamens; pistils 40-70; beak nearly equaling sepals. Achenes ovate , 2.5-3.5 × l.5 mm, conspicously rimmed, sparsely short-hairy; beak 2.5-5 cm. 2 n = 16.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Clematis canadensis Miller; C. holosericea Pursh; C. missouriensis Rydberg; C. virginiana var. missouriensis (Rydberg) E. J. Palmer & Steyermark
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Virgin's Bower occurs occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is a little more common in northern and western Illinois than other areas of the state. Habitats include edges of woodlands, moist thickets, moist meadows in floodplain areas, banks of rivers and large drainage ditches, and fence rows. Virgin's Bower can be found in both disturbed and natural areas. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental garden plant.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Streamsides, wet roadsides, fencerows, and other moist, disturbed, wooded or open sites, locally abundant; 0-1500m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Virgin's Bower in Illinois

Clematis virginiana (Virgin's Bower)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; information is available for staminate flowers only; observations are from Robertson)

On staminate flowers:

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus impatiens sn cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum illinoensis sn fq, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn cp fq; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes clematidis sn, Sphecodes dichroa sn fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Synnevrus plagiatus; Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Lestica confluentus, Lindenius columbianus, Oxybelus uniglumis; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Isodontia apicalis, Sceliphron caementaria, Sphex ichneumonea; Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Euodynerus foraminatus

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys normula; Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua, Eristalis transversus, Platycheirus quadratus, Sphaerophoria contiqua, Syritta pipiens fq, Toxomerus marginatus; Conopidae: Thecophora occidensis; Tachinidae: Archytas analis, Archytas aterrima, Belvosia unifasciata, Gnadochaeta globosa, Linaemya comta, Phasia purpurascens, Siphona geniculata, Siphosturmia phyciodis; Sarcophagidae: Amobia aurifrons fq, Helicobia rapax, Sphixapata trilineata fq; Calliphoridae: Calliphora splendida, Calliphora vicina, Cochliomyia macellaria fq, Lucilia sericata; Muscidae: Graphomya americana, Limnophora narona, Musca domestica fq, Neomyia cornicina; Anthomyiidae: Calythea nigricans, Delia platura; Fanniidae: Fannia canicularis, Fannia incisurata, Fannia manicata fq; Milichiidae: Pholeomyia indecora; Sepsidae: Meroplius stercoraria, Sepsis violacea; Piophilidae: Piophila casei, Prochyliza xanthostoma

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus

Plant Bugs
Miridae: Lopidea medius

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Faunal Associations

The nectar of the staminate flowers attracts Halictid bees (including Sphecodes clematidis), wasps, and various kinds of flies. No information is available for pistillate flowers. The caterpillars of two moths, Thysis maculata (Spotted Thysis) and Thysis sepulchralis (Mournful Thysis), feed on Virgin's Bower and other Clematis spp. Birds and mammalian herbivores apparently don't utilize these species as a food source to any significant degree.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering summer (Jun-Sep).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Clematis virginiana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile soil that is loamy or silty. Full sun is also tolerated, although the leaves may turn yellowish green.
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Wikipedia

Clematis virginiana

Clematis virginiana (also known as Devil's Darning Needles, Devil's Hair, Love Vine, Traveller's Joy, Virgin's Bower, Virginia Virgin's Bower, Wild Hops, and Woodbine; syn. Clematis virginiana L. var. missouriensis (Rydb.) Palmer & Steyermark [1] ) is a vine of the Ranunculaceae family native to the United States. The rationale for some of the common names is unclear, as they include examples normally applied to unrelated plants, including twining parasites (e.g. "devil's hair" for Cuscuta). The name "Love Vine" also is applied to alleged aphrodisiacs, such as Caribbean species of Cassytha, which are unrelated to Clematis, not being in the family Ranunculaceae.

This plant is an aggressively growing vine which can climb to heights of 10–20 ft. It grows on the edges of the woods, moist slopes, fence rows, in thickets and on streambanks. It produces white, fragrant flowers about an inch in diameter between July and September.[2]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]


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Notes

Comments

Clematis virginiana is the most frequent and widespread virgin's-bower in eastern North America. It is easily distinguished from C. catesbyana by the presence of three ovate leaflets. 

 Native Americans used infusions prepared from the roots of Clematis virginiana medicinally to treat kidney ailments, and mixed them with milkweed to heal backaches and venereal sores. Decoctions of stems were ingested to induce strange dreams. In addition, the plant was used as an ingredient in green corn medicine (D. E. Moerman 1986).

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