clematis (klĕmˈətĭs, kləmătˈĭs) [key], any plant of the large genus Clematis (sometimes subdivided into three or four genera), widely distributed herbs or vines of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), many of them native to the United States. Some have an irritating sap. The vines, climbing by tendrils that are modified leafstalks, are the more popular and are usually profuse bloomers. The flowers are varied in shape and color; the fruits are small and dry, with a feathery appearance. Most popular in North America are the Jackman clematis ( C. jackmanii ), a large purple hybrid, and the Japanese clematis ( C. paniculata ) with small white flowers. Some clematises are called virgin's-bower, traveler's-joy, leatherflower, and old-man's-beard. Clematis is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on clematis from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants