Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Clematis cloud

with 17 comments

A "cloud" of Clematis; click for more detail.

Clematis drummondii is a vine that’s fond of climbing on and over other plants, even to the point of covering them with a living—and for them smothering—cloud of fibers. In the case of what appears to be some Brazilian and therefore alien verbena poking up at the far left, so much the better.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2011 at 6:00 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I love the dreamy mystery of this shot—soft, inviting, and vaguely threatening all at once.


    July 25, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    • Good description. I’m glad it’s soft for us and threatening only to the plants beneath it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    • I agree! I love the contrast of the softness and the brightness of the sky. Beautiful!


      July 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM

  2. lovely capture of the seed pods against the brilliant blue sky


    July 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    • Mostly the sky here has been brilliant blue, which I like and often use as a background. In this case I’m glad we had some fleecy clouds that I could play off against the Clematis “cloud” yet still have that covering of bright blue.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

  3. The seed clusters remind me of spiral nebulas in one of those color-enhanced Hubble photos. I like the common names for this plant – similar species virginiana goes by “devil’s darning needles”, which I haven’t quite figured out.


    July 25, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    • For years I’ve seen the seeds and strands, with their implied motion, as swirls, a word I managed to get in when I posted the entry two days before this one. I’m also reminded of the motifs that were popular during the Art Nouveau movement, which drew inspiration from nature.

      I haven’t heard of C. virginiana or its colloquial name devil’s darning needle. I guess people saw all the strands as if they were strings or yarn, perhaps with the stiffer flower stalks playing the role of the needles. I’m glad you told me about this other species, which I now see grows in most of the eastern United States and Canada—including Long Island, where I grew up but didn’t pay much attention to plants back then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

  4. Such beautiful colour and texture in this shot, I’ve never seen this type of plant before.

    farmhouse stories

    July 26, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    • Thank you. According to the Unites States Department of Agriculture website, a very similar species, Clematis virginiana, grows as far north as Ontario, so perhaps you’ll run across that relative. I hope so, because, as you’ve seen, these plants put on quite a show.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2011 at 12:21 PM

  5. It looks like an ad for a really comfy mattress.


    July 28, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    • The fluff is soft indeed, but the green stems of the vine that underlie the fluff and hold everything together are not so soft and pliable; the experience of lying on this mound might be like lying on a mattress with poorly insulated box springs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

  6. Very cool! Wish I could touch it.

    Leslie Kuo

    August 2, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    • Just arrange to be in Austin next year in July and you can. Actually, I’ve seen Clematis drummondii flowering and doing its fluffy thing as late as November, so if you happen to be in Austin any time later this year let me know and you may still be able to experience the softness of the Clematis.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 2, 2011 at 7:27 AM

  7. another one that i love – and against that blue, blue – texan blue? – sky…beautiful!

    yi-ching lin

    August 12, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    • Thanks. I’m sorry to say that the continuing days of blue are from the persistent drought—but I’ll make use of the blue for my own purposes even while wishing for some clouds filled with rain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2011 at 2:11 PM

  8. […] fibers it produces after its flowers get fertilized, as I’ve shown in my blog on July 23 and July 25. Not much fun for most people is giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida, a tall and erect member of the […]

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