|Monday Melange: Virgin's Bower|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 19 November 2012|
Virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana), also known as woodbine, devil's darning needles, and old man's beard, is a deciduous perennial twining vine native to the eastern US. A member of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), it is hardy between USDA zones 3 and 8. This native clematis is similar in appearance to sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora), a non-native species that has escaped cultivation in many places. The leaves of the latter are rounded and entire, whereas the leaves of virgin's bower are toothed.
Virgin's bower is a late summer and fall blooming plant, flowering from July to October. The approximately 1.5 inch white flowers are showy and fragrant, attracting bees, butterflies, and birds. Preferring full sun to partial shade (although it will bloom quite well even in shade), virgin's bower grows 12 to 20 feet high. The whorled, plume-like seed heads are distinctive, yet quite decorative, and resemble an old man's beard, hence one of the many common names for this plant.
It is an easy to grow vine that readily naturalizes and is perfect for a trellis, arbor, lamppost, or along a fence; however, it can become weedy or invasive because of its vigorous growth habit. It is found in the wild in low moist woodlands, and along stream banks and fencerows. Propagate virgin's bower from seed or woody stem cuttings.
Photo source: www.missouriplants.com