Fragrant Virgin’s Bower (Clematis flammula)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Fragrant Virgin's Bower
Clematis flammula
Ranunculaceae

Plants can be grown as ground cover, planted about 1.2 metres apart and allowed to scramble over the ground[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Young shoots – cooked[2, 105, 177]. Some caution is advised due to reports of toxicity[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    All parts of the plant are poisonous, the toxic principle is dissipated by heat or by drying[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[164, 200]. Sow stored seed as soon as it is obtained in a cold frame. Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and remove as much of the tail and outer coat as possible[164]. A period of cold stratification is beneficial[164]. The seed germinates in 1 – 9 months or more at 20¡c[164]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Internodal cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, late spring in sandy soil in a frame[200]. Cuttings of half-ripe inter-nodal cuttings, June/July in a frame[202]. Layering of old stems in late winter or early spring[200]. Layering of current seasons growth in early summer[200].
Prefers a deep moist well-drained soil with its roots in the shade[182, 200]. Dislikes poorly-drained heavy clay soils, but grows well in clay if grit is added for drainage[11, 200]. Dislikes light sandy soils[11]. Does well on chalk[1]. Succeeds in acid as well as alkaline soils[200]. Thrives in exposed positions[182]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[202]. A twining plant[182], it is fast growing[202]. The leafstalks wrap themselves around twigs and branches for support. When a side of the stalk touches an object, the growth on that side slows down whilst the other side grows at its normal rate – this causes the leaf stalk to entwine the object it is touching[212]. When planting out, in order to avoid the disease ‘clematis wilt’, it is best to plant the rootball about 8cm deeper in the soil. This will also serve to build up a good root crown of growth buds[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], the flowers are very fragrant[202]. They have a pronounced smell of meadowsweet, almost too powerful when inhaled close-up[245]. They are produced on the current season’s growth and so any pruning of the plant is best carried out in the spring before new growth begins[219]. Plants rarely produce fertile seed in Britain[219]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200].
S. Europe. An infrequent casual in Britain[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.