Clematis vitalba

Clematis vitalba

Overview

Clematis vitalba – Old man’s beard; traveller’s joy; evergreen clematis
Description
  • C. vitalba is a deciduous woody climber, growing to over to 10m in length. New stems are dark purple and green, with deep ridges and white hair; they grow erect between holds. Mature stems are grey with thick nodes about 15cm apart. Adventitious roots form at the nodes if the stems are growing along the ground.
   
  • C. vitalba has opposite leaves, which have five 3-10cm leaflets. Leaves have both light- and shade-forms. The small, white flowers are solitary and without petals. The flowers are usually hermaphroditic and have a 2-3cm long feathery style.

Habitat
  • This species is found in a variety of terrestrial habitats, including forests, rail and roadsides, urban areas, and coastal areas.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution
  • This species is native to Europe and the Middle East. It is naturalised in countries that border its range, including Ireland, Norway and Sweden; it also grows in countries north of its European range, including Scotland.

Potential or Known Impacts
  • This species may pose a threat in hedgerows and forests as its quick growth and dense vegetation can block out native species. Its weight may also damage supporting vegetation. This can lead to lower plant biodiversity if left unmanaged.
  • This species may cause dermatitis in humans if touched.

How did it get here?
  • This species may have arrived in contaminated soil as seeds or been introduced as through the horticulture trade as a rootstock for other ornamental clematis species. It may be bought in plant nurseries, mail order catalogues or plant and seed websites.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • It has been recorded in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

You can help by reporting any sightings:
Methods for Prevention:
  • Promote native species and biodiversity – use alternative native plants.
  • Know what you are buying and growing, and source native Irish seeds and plants.
  • Do not swap plants and cuttings with other people.
  • Do not take plants and cuttings from the wild.
  • Do not use soil from areas where this species grows as seeds may be present.
  • Do not plant this species in the wild.
  • Do not allow this species to escape into the wild.
  • Safely dispose of this species and associated soil/compost to avoid accidental/unintentional spread.
  • Report all sightings.

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland