WINTER CLEMATIS - Clematis Cirrhosa
by Tony Hall
The winter clematis, Clematis cirrhosa, is one of four different species of Clematis growing the provinces of Andalucía and can be found growing in most parts of Andalucía. It is a common evergreen woody, climbing plant which grows through other plants in the maquis, scrambling and climbing to around 3 or 4m high. It climbs with its leaf stalks which wrap themselves around anything they touch.
This plant is not really noticeable for much of the year, until it comes into flower. This is from December, through until February and sometimes March. The shiny green leaves are very variable and can have smooth, lobed and toothed margins. Most usually though, lobed with a toothed margin. The large showy flowers are pendulous , hanging bell-like, they have 4 petals, which are creamy white - yellowish and are sweetly scented, occasionally they can have purple spotting on the inside of the petals and are densely hairy on the outside. Once the flowers have faded they are followed by rounded silky, fluffy seed heads.
There is also a sub species, Clematis cirrhosa subsp. balearica which grows in the Balearic Islands which is generally smaller and has much more divided leaves.
Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in the plants of Andalucía.