Beyond the species drummondii in the genus Clematis
This year, like last year, all the photographs of a Clematis that you’ve seen in this blog have been of Clematis drummondii, known colloquially as old man’s beard. But I’ve been holding out on you. Now I’m here to say that two other species of Clematis are native in central Texas, and they look more like each other than they do like the C. drummondii species that produces shiny strands and tangled “beards.” Both of these other species are called leatherflowers, for the leathery-feeling (I’d say rubbery-feeling) flowers they produce. One is purple, C. pitcheri, and the other is scarlet, C. texensis.
I rarely see purple leatherflowers, even though they’re the more widely distributed of the two species in Texas and are also found in other states. More often I run across scarlet leatherflowers, and that was the case on April 5 when I was walking along a trail adjacent to McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin.
Clematis texensis is endemic to central Texas, which means that the species grows natively only in this region and nowhere else in the world. Yay, us!
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman