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Clematis phlebantha L. H. J. Williams

Modern name

Clematis phlebantha L.H.J.Williams

A shrub with trailing stems up to about 5 ft long, or an erect bush 1 to 2 ft high; young stems ribbed longitudinally and covered with a white wool, the older ones peeling in thin strips. Leaves opposite, imparipinnate, 35 to 3 in. long, with a woolly rachis and petiole; leaflets five to nine, usually seven, about 35 in. long and wide, sessile or nearly so, broadly cuneate at the base, the terminal leaflet five-lobed, the lateral ones mostly three-lobed, the lobes triangular or broadly so, acute, green and silky above, densely white-woolly beneath. Flowers hermaphrodite, borne, usually singly, in the leaf-axils towards the ends of the shoots, 1 to 145 in. in diameter; pedicels 45 to 315 in. long, often furnished with a pair of simple or leaf-like and three-lobed bracts. Sepals five to seven, white, with reddish veins, elliptic to obovate, acute or slightly mucronate at the apex, 35 to 45 in. long, 15 to 25 in. wide. Anthers yellow, shorter than the filaments. Achenes hairy, terminated by the feathery persistent style. Bot. Mag., n.s., t.574.

Native of W. Nepal, where it inhabits cliffs and steep hillsides in the low-rainfall area north-west of the Dhaulagiri massif, at 9,800 to 12,200 ft; discovered by Polunin, Sykes and Williams during their expedition to Nepal in 1952 and introduced by them in the same year by means of seed collected at 9,400 ft under field number PSW 3436. It was described in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 93, Aug. 1968, pp. 343-6, and to this account we are indebted for the particulars given here.

C. phlebantha was raised at Wisley from PSW 3436 and is represented there by two plants grown m the halt-hardy house. It it proves hardy (and, perhaps more importantly, tolerant of our wet winters) it will be an attractive addition to the cultivated species, with its silvery foliage and prettily veined flowers. Grown outside, it will certainly need a well-drained soil and a sunny position. It belongs to sect. Flammula subsect. Recta.

C. delavayi Franch. – This species resembles C. phlebantha in having pinnate leaves with the leaflets white tomentose beneath, but is easily distinguished by the shape and size of the leaflets and by the flowers being smaller and borne in terminal inflorescences. The leaflets are lanceolate to elliptic-ovate, acute, entire, about 12 to 125 in. long, 16 to 25 in. (sometimes up to 23 in.) wide. The flowers are up to 45 in. wide. A native of China, introduced by Wilson from W. Szechwan. It is no longer in cultivation at Kew.



Other species in the genus