For the last two decades we have grown Clematis cirrhosa and its cultivars. Their evergreen foliage and their long bloom during a time of year not known for flowers, makes them an attractive choice for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest. The species is found in many sites throughout the Mediterranean area – from Morocco, the Balearic Islands, Spain, Portugal, Corsica, Sardinia and the like. Its wide distribution has given us many varieties of leaf shape and flower color and shape.
Here is a sampler of the foliage of three of the varieties…
Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica as its name indicates comes from the Balearic Islands (and also Corsica and Sarinia). Its well-divided foliage has good substance and shows typical purple staining in the leaf that develops with cold weather. Its flowers are creamy white and flecked with maroon dots within.
Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ also comes from the Balearic Islands. The RHS Registry of Clematis tells that it was grown from seed gathered by Allen Paterson in Mallorca and named and introduced by the well-known clematis breeder Raymond Evison. It has much broader foliage and purple staining on its leaves. The flowers are larger and have more dramatic freckling of dark red purple dots within.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’ was also raised by Raymond Evison from seed collected by Ken Asler at an undisclosed site in SE Europe. The foliage is a glossy green and is not deeply divided but rounded. The flowers are cream colored and lack the freckling of the other two forms