Clematis terniflora, Sweet Autumn Virginsbower

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener December 14, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Clematis terniflora, Sweet Autumn Virginsbower

Sweet autumn virginsbower is an invasive climbing, semi-evergreen, ornamental vine. The leaves are opposite, compound (with three to five leaflets), and the margins are entire. Leaflets are each 2 to 3 in. (5 to 7.6 cm) long. White, fragrant, four-petaled flowers appear in the late summer through the fall. Seeds are also showy, and production is prolific. Seed heads have long, silvery-gray, feather-like hairs attached. The native species (C. virginiana) is very similar (margins of leaves of the native tend to be toothed) but not as prone to self-seeding and spreading. Sweet autumn virginsbower prefers sun to partial shade and is found invading forest edges, rights of way, and urban green space especially near creeks. It is native to Japan and China and was introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Ranunculales > Ranunculaceae > Clematis terniflora DC

Synonym(s): leatherleaf clematis, yam-leaved clematis

Clematis terniflora - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Sweet autumn virginsbower - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States. (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Vine

Sweet autumn virginsbower is an invasive climbing, semi-evergreen, ornamental vine.

sweet autumn virginsbower sweet autumn virginsbower
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are opposite, compound (with three to five leaflets), and the margins are entire. Leaflets are each 2 to 3 in. (5 to 7.6 cm) long.

sweet autumn virginsbower sweet autumn virginsbower
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, bugwood.org Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org

Flower

White, fragrant, four-petaled flowers appear in the late summer through the fall.

Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org

sweet autumn virginsbower
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Fruit

Seeds are also showy, and production is prolific. Seed heads have long, silvery-gray, feather-like hairs attached. 

sweet autumn virginsbower sweet autumn virginsbower
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, bugwood.org Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Sweet Autumn Virginsbower

 

Clematis virginiana, devil's darning needles - Images at invasive.org

devil's darning needles (Clematis virginiana) devil's darning needles (Clematis virginiana)
Wendy VanDyk Evans, bugwood.org John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, bugwood.org

 

Clematis ligusticifolia, western white clematis - Images at invasive.org

western white clematis western white clematis

Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired),
bugwood.org

Joy Viola, Northeastern University,
bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Sweet Autumn Virginsbower

Sweet autumn virginsbower - Images at Invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Sweet Autumn Virginsbower

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Clematis terniflora - Missouri Botanical Garden

Invasive.org - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Clematis terniflora - Illinois Wildflowers

Electronic Data Information Source - University of Florida IFAS Extension

Plant of the Week - University of Oklahoma Department of Botany & Microbiology

Sweet Autumn Virginsbower - National Park Service


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.