South Dakota Native Plant Research
Ranunculaceae : Clematis ligusticifolia

Ranunculaceae : Clematis ligusticifolia


Download Large vine (2.5 MB)

Download Mature plant - SDSU garden (319 KB)

Download Leaf (202 KB)

Download Flowers (588 KB)

Download Fruit (916 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Western virgin's bower, Western clematis

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋíyuwe skaská naȟčá


Clematis ligusticifolia is a perennial, somewhat woody vine with smooth to hairy stems that grow several meters in length. The opposite, compound pinnate leaves are petiolate, with 3-7 leaflets that are coarsely toothed, ovate, and 2–6 cm long. The inflorescence consists of many-flowered, axillary panicles, with 4 white, petal-like sepals, 5-13 mm long, lacking petals. The plants are dioecious, with the male (staminate) flowers having numerous stamens, but lacking pistils. The female plants (pistilate) flowers have similar sepals, numerous, full size sterile stamens and multiple pistils. The fruit are hairy achenes, 2-4.5 mm long with plumose styles up to 6 cm long. Western virgin’s bower blooms in July and August and can be found climbing of trees, shrubs and rocks in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Western clematis can be a beautiful addition to a native plant garden. The flowers are very showy and attract many native bumblebee species. The female plant produce striking seedheads and numerous viable seeds. Selective planting of only male plants prevents the continuous emergence of new seedlings that will pop up every spring.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Fruits develop in late fall when the achenes become dark. The plumes make them easy to see and collect.

Germination: Remove the plumes and fall sow or store in a refrigerator until spring. Seeds have little dormancy.

Soils: Well-drained sandy, loamy to clay soils.

Light Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Medium-moist during the growing season.

Ranunculaceae : Clematis ligusticifolia