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Forest Clematis

Clematis glycinoides
Clematis aristata

Ranunculaceae
Forest Clematis
Toothed Clematis

Common

These Clematis vines are tall, vigorous climbers, with opposite, compound leaves, each made up of 3 leaflets. Clematis glycinoides, which occurs in the rainforest, has thin leaflets with edges that are smooth (or with 1-2 teeth near the base), while C.aristata, which is more common in moist eucalypt forest, has thicker leaflets with distinctly toothed edges. These vines do not have tendrils but the leaf stalk can elongate and act as a tendril, twining around any convenient support.

Clematis is most noticeable in spring when the vine is covered with masses of white flowers, often covering the tops of small trees, giving rise to the other common name, Traveller's Joy. The male and female flowers are carried on separate plants, but look much the same until examined closely.

The fruit is also attractive, each "seed" (really a 1-seeded fruit) having a long, fluffy appendage with a silvery appearance. In late summer, when the fruits finally ripen, they are blown away by the wind. Clematis can be grown either from fresh seed or from cuttings. In C.aristata, the seedling leaves have silvery markings on the upper surface and are purplish underneath.

Distribution: C.glycinoides - Eastern Vic, NSW, to Nth Q1d. C.aristata - Tas to Brisbane.