Dec 08 2010
Here’s a plant with two names: one for winter, one for summer.
In the summer the flowers of this perennial vine display a fringe of white pistils and stamens above four white sepals. The vine drapes itself over nearby vegetation so it resembles a Virgin’s Bower.
As the season progresses each flower produces many fruits and each fruit (seed) is topped by a long, feathery, white streamer. The fruits are arranged in a dense pinwheel where the flower had been.
The result, in winter, is a fluffy white ball that looks like an Old Man’s Beard. Look for these fluffy balls in early winter because the fruits fall off and the beard disappears.
“Virgin’s Bower” or “Old Man’s Beard,” it’s called Clematis virginiana by those in the know.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)