Clematis occidentalis (Purple Clematis) - photos and description



General: Climbing or low growing vine, with woody stems, having showy purple flowers in late spring.

Flowers: Flowers violet in colour, very showy, solitary on long peduncles, nodding. Flowers consist of showy sepals only, no petals. We measured a flower to 8 cm diameter.

Leaves: Leaves alternate and opposite, trifoliate, leaflets ovate to deltoid, irregularly toothed. Petioles hairy, and a few hairs on leaf margins and nerves on back of leaf, top of leaves glabrous. Leaf featured in photograph was 12.5 cm long (including petiole), and 9.5 cm wide. A leaflet measured at 5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.

Height: We climbed a tree to measure one plant to a height of 2.7 metres, and saw one in another tree growing to a greater height. Often, however, you'll find these plants growing on the ground.

Habitat: Wooded areas in the western edge of the province in the Cypress Hills, and on the eastern edge of the province in the Pasquia Hills.

Abundance: Provincially very rare, ranked as an S2 (as of 2021) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre. This plant is fairly common in the Cypress Hills.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: Listed in some of the field guides we use as C. verticellaris, and C. tenuiloba.

When and where photographed: The above photos were taken May 20th, May 25th, and June 6th in lodgepole pine and mixed forest, Cypress Hills, about 425 km southwest of our home in Regina, SK.