A deciduous climber of vigorous habit, growing at least 20 ft high; stems glabrous except when quite young. Leaves composed of three leaflets on a common stalk 2 to 4 in. long; the leaflets short-stalked, ovate to lanceolate, pointed, variously and unequally toothed; 1 to 4 in. long, half as wide. Flowers solitary, pure white, 2 to 21⁄2 in. across, each borne on a glabrous stalk 2 to 5 in. long. Sepals four, spreading, oval. Seed-vessel elliptical, glabrous, surmounted by a plumose style 11⁄2 in. long.
Native of the Himalaya; introduced by Lady Amherst in 1831. It is quite hardy, and is undoubtedly one of the loveliest of all climbers. The flowers appear in May, and being produced singly on long stalks, can only be confused with the white variety of C. alpina, and that is not only very different in habit and vigour, but has the petal-like parts of the flower characteristic only of the Atragene section. C. montana is a valuable plant for covering arbours, pergolas, and especially verandas, where its long shoots can be allowed to hang down and form a sort of curtain.
cv. ‘Elizabeth’. – Flowers fragrant, large and light pink in colour.
f. grandiflora (Hook.) Rehd. – Flowers larger than in the type, up to 3 in. across.
var. rubens Kuntze – A Chinese variety introduced for Messrs Veitch by Wilson in 1900. It is very distinct, the foliage being similar in size and form to the type, but more downy and purplish, although not so markedly purple as the leaf-stalks and young stems. The flowers appear in June, rather later than those of the type, and are of a beautiful rosy red. The sepals are 11⁄4 in. long, 7⁄8 in. wide; flower-stalks hairy. The variety is probably the most beautiful and useful climber distributed in the twentieth century. It is hardier than the type and flowers with greater regularity. Easily increased by cuttings.
cv. ‘Tetrarose’. – A vigorous form with twice the normal number of chromosomes, raised in Holland. Flowers large, purplish pink.
var. wilsonii Sprague – This variety, figured in Bot. Mag., t. 8365, has larger white flowers on downy stalks, 3 in. in diameter, and they appear in July and August. This habit of late flowering adds to its value. Native of Central China; Wilson, who introduced it, said it was the commonest form of the species in W. Szechwan. It was originally distributed by Veitch as “C. repens”.
It should be noted that Wilson introduced another form of this variety which flowers at the normal time. It was further distinguished by its broadly obovate sepals and was for this reason given botanical rank as f. platysepala Rehd. & Wils.