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UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > White Wild Flowers  > Clematis vitalba

Scientific Name:   Clematis vitalba
Common Name:   Traveller's Joy

Clematis vitalba, commonly known as Traveller's Joy, is a climbing shrub, clinging to other shrubs, trees and hedges, and is one of the few woody climbers in the UK. Its pinnately compound leaves have stalks which can curl tightly like tendrils around any support. The leaflets, in opposite pairs, bear a few large blunt teeth. The fragrant flowers have only one whorl of four cream-coloured petals, which are downy on the outside.

They have many stamens, massed around the central cluster of long hairy styles; these elongate in fruit to form a feathery plume on each of the numerous achenes. In autumn the plant is covered in masses of ripened fruit; these feathery plumes act as wind-dispersal agents and give the appearance of wreaths of smoke or hair on wood borders or hedges, giving rise to its other well-known name of Old Man's Beard.
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