June issue - Clematis

Here you'll find all the sources of the information on roses in this month's Sideshoots. All were correct at the time of going to press.

Clematis Facts

  • Number of clematis species growing wild around the world: 297
    (Clematis - the Genus by Chris Grey-Wilson, publ. 2000)

  • Proprtion which are perennials or shrubs rather than climbers: 10%
    (pers. comm. Chris Grey-Wilson,)

  • Number of clematis species growing wild in Britain: 1
    (New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace)

  • Number of cultivars listed on the International Clematis Register: 3500
    (pers. comm Vicky Mathews, International Clematis Registrar)

  • Number of clematis available from British nurseries: 806
    (RHS Plantfinder 2000/2001)

  • Proportion of clematis available from British nurseries given RHS Award of Garden Merit: 8.4%
    (68, RHS Plantfinder)

  • Number of varieties raised by the Estonian Uno Kivistik, the leading breeder: 162
    (pers. comm. Mary Toomey, British Clematis Society)

  • Numer of known clematis cultivars with variegated foliage: 3
    (C. japonica 'Gokanosho', C. flammula 'Ithaca' and 'Elfin'; pers. comm. Vicky Mathews.)

  • Proportion of those with variegated foliage at present available: 0%
    (RHS Plantfinder)

  • Number of clematis described on Clematis on the Web (www.clematis.hull.ac.uk): 941
    (pers. comm. Richard Green, founder Clematis on the Web)

  • Proportion illustrated with at least one photogrpah: 35%
    (326; pers. comm. Richard Green, founder Clematis on the Web)

  • Number of species and cultivars in most extensive National Collection (at RJ Evison Ltd, Guernsey): 505
    (NCCPG National Plant Collections Directory)

  • Number of members of the International Clematis Society: 247
    (pers. comm. Fiona Woolfenden, Secretary, International Clematis Society)

  • Number of members of British Clematis Society: 1275
    (pers. comm. David Victor, British Clematis Society Postmaster)

  • Estimated maximum height of the tallest clematis species, C. gouriana: 24.6m/80ft
    (pers. comm.Mary Toomey, British Clematis Society)

  • Growth of C. tangutica Corry in the authors garden in one season: 4m/13ft
    (Personal observation)

  • Estimated height of the shortest clematis species: 10cm/4in
    (pers. comm. Chris Grey-Wilson)

  • Number of seeds in old mans beard seed head: 90
    (pers. comm. Chris Grey-Wilson)

  • Number of plants other than the British native Clematis vitalba also called old mans beard: 3
    (Chionanthus virginicus, Clematis virginiana, Usnea species - a lichen. Dictionary of Common Names www.plantpress.com/docn.htm)

  • Number of books on clematis at present available: 17
    (amazon.co.uk, excluding those on special order)

  • Ranking in popularity of garden plants in a recent survey sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society: 2
    (DK/RHS survey)

    Clematis banter

    TOMATO OR TOMATO? Pardon? I thought this was about clematis.


    NO, CLEMATIS. Ah…that, my friend, is a very good question.

    AND THE ANSWER? Depends who you ask, there seem to be at least five different options.

    SO ITS NOT CLEM-AY-TIS. Well some say it that way, while in the United States its often clem-AR-tis or cle-MAT-is.

    OH NO, THATS RIDICULOUS. CANT WE AT LEAST AGREE THAT ITS EITHER CL-EM-ATIS OR CLEM-AY-TIS? Apparently not. Dr Mary Toomey, of the British Clematis Society no less, says that the classically correct pronunciation may well be cl-EEE-matis. The name comes from the Greek, it seems, klema (pronounced kl-EEE-ma) meaning a vine twig.

    Then stick to cl-EM-atis or clem-AY-tis, theyll know what you mean. Or you may want to call it wei ling xian, though not in the garden centre.

    THEN WHERE? In the health food shop, its the Chinese name for clematis, listed as one of the ten most popular Chinese medicianal herbs.

    YOURE GOING TO TELL ME ITS USED FOR SOMETHING "FUNNY" ARENT YOU? On the contrary, its used for rheumatism and to help dislodge fishbones from the throat. And to expel wind.

    THERE, I TOLD YOU. BUT IT SOUNDS USEFUL. Except The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide To Natural Medicines says If swallowed, it can bring about intense pain in the mouth, blistering, profuse salivation, abdominal cramping, severe diarrhea, bloody vomiting, kidney irritation with pain and excessive urination as well as blood in the urine, dizziness, fainting, and convulsions in severe cases.

    GIVE ME THE FISHBONE ANY DAY. So be careful what you ask for.


    BUT I SAY CLEM-AY-TIS OK, Lets call the whole thing off.

    Calling the whole thing off

    She says: There is no single correct way, all are correct Fiona Woolfenden, International Clematis Society

    He says: I think the debate is descending into pointless pedantry. Richard Green, Clematis on the Web

    Clematis locations

    Clematis by Night Music venue for the middle-aged on Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, Florida (http://www.gopbi.com/partners/clematisbynight/default_welcome.html)

    Clematis Cottage Museum Museum illustrating the history of the Mataura district of South Island, New Zealand. (http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/museums/clematiscottage.html)

    Clematis House Farmhouse accommodation in Lund, North Yorkshire, 'several times winner of Britain in Bloom competition'. http://www.clematisfarm.co.uk/

    Clematis Hut Mountain hut for treckers in Wellington, Tasmania

    Clematis Town, 42 km south-east of Melbourne Australia. Location of OConnors Paradise Hotel, opened in 1899.

All text copyright Graham Rice 1999-2006, All images copyright Graham Rice/gardenphotos.com or judywhite/gardenphotos.com 1999/2006.
All rights reserved.