1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clematis

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CLEMATIS, in botany, a genus of the natural order Ranunculaceae, containing nearly two hundred species, and widely distributed. It is represented in England by Clematis Vitalba, “old man’s beard” or “traveller’s joy,” a common plant on chalky or light soil. The plants are shrubby climbers with generally compound opposite leaves, the stalk of which is sensitive to contact like a tendril, becoming twisted round suitable objects and thereby giving support to the plant. The flowers are arranged in axillary or terminal clusters; they have no petals, but white or coloured, often very large sepals, and an indefinite number of stamens and carpels. They contain no honey, and are visited by insects for the sake of the pollen, which is plentiful. The fruit is a head of achenes, each bearing the long-bearded persistent style, suggesting the popular name. This feathery style is an important agent in the distribution of the seed by means of the wind. Several of the species, especially the large-flowered ones, are favourite garden plants, well adapted for covering trellises or walls, or trailing over the ground. Many garden forms have been produced by hybridization; among the best known is C. Jackmanni, due to Mr George Jackman of Woking.

Further information may be obtained from The Clematis as a Garden Flower, by Thos. Moore and George Jackman. See also G. Nicholson, Dictionary of Gardening, i. (1885) and Supplements.