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Traveller’s Joy (Clematis vitalba)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Traveller's Joy
Clematis vitalba

The stems are used in basketry[100, 115].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are analgesic, diuretic and rubefacient[7, 61]. The boiled roots and stems are used as a cure for the itch[4]. When applied in the nostrils, the plant juice has been used to relieve migraine attacks, but it can also destroy the mucous membranes[7]. The plant should not be taken internally because it is poisonous[7].

    A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and skin eruptions[238].

    The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Indifference’, ‘Dreaminess’, ‘Inattention’ and ‘Unconsciousness'[209]. It is also one of the five ingredients in the ‘Rescue remedy'[209].

  • Edible Use

    Young shoots – cooked and used like hop shoots (Humulus lupulus)[7, 46, 61]. Caution is advised due to reports of toxicity[7].

  • Cautionary Notes

    All parts of the plant are poisonous[7], 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken between nodes, July/August in a frame[1]. Internodal cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, late spring in sandy soil in a frame. Layering of old stems in late winter or early spring[200]. Layering of current seasons growth in early summer[200].
Prefers a deep moist soil with its roots in the shade[11, 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]. Dislikes acid soils below a pH of 6.0[186]. Succeeds in acid as well as alkaline soils[200]. Plants are hardy to about -18¡c[202]. A twining plant[182]. 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[186, 212]. It is capable of growing 2 metres in a year and can easily smother small trees and shrubs[186]. Another report says that it can grow 5 metres in a year[202]. 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]. The flowers are almond-scented[202]. They are produced on the current season’s growth[219]. The plant is very amenable to pruning and can be cut back severely if required. This is best done in early spring[202]. A greedy plant, inhibiting 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].
Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands south and east to N. Africa and the Caucasus.

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.