Clematis occidentalis  (Hornem.) DC. - Blue Virgin's Bower


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Clematis occidentalis - (image 1 of 7)



Family: Ranunculaceae


Mesic to dry woods on steep rocky outcrops or talus slopes. Prefers partly-shaded, calcareous or circumneutral soil.


Found this specimen in central NY growing with Adlumia fungosa, Anemone virginiana, Aquilegia canadensis, Asarum canadensis, Cystopteris bulbifera, Eupatorium rugosum, Ostrya virginiana, Quercus muehlenbergii, Solidago caesia, Thuja occidentalis.


Eastern Quebec west to Manitoba, south to NJ, DE, OH, northwest IL, and northeast IA, and in mountains to NC.


Perennial, woody vine growing to about 2 m; trailing or climbing. Leaves opposite (or whorled), on long petioles; leaflets ovate, three on short petiolules, to 7 cm long, entire to irregularly toothed or lobed. Flowers nodding, solitary from axils of leaves; petals lacking; sepals 4, blue to violet, petal-like, villous. Fruits are small achenes with feathery styles, in dense rounded clusters.   


Flowers May into July

Fruiting July to September

Wetland indicator: NA.

This species is endangered in several states and is thought to have been extirpated from OH and DE.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (

National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.




 Michael Hough 2004