Tuesday, May 26, 2009


From the 91st Street Garden in Riverside Park, we have a couple lovely specimens of Clematis.

This one below is a cultivar, though I'm not certain which one. It could be 'Forever' or 'Pink Fantasy', though I doubt it's 'Pink Champagne.' I'm pretty terrible at keeping up with cultivars, especially of herbaceous plants.

Actually, that preceding statement requires correction; technically Clematis is a liana. Lianas, aside from being ubiquitous in crossword puzzles, are upward growing vines with woody bases. The word Clematis itself is Greek for vine or vinelike. This said, a majority of the plant dies back each winter.

These two specimens are most likely Clematis x. jackmanii, a very, very popular hybrid in the nursery trade. I imagine most people think of this plant when they hear the word Clematis, though there are over 250 species in the genus, many of which have smaller, more diminutive flowers.

I'm guilty of pronouncing the genus wrong, over and over again. The correct pronunciation is KLEM-uh-tiss, but I always end up saying cluh-MAT-iss. To me, the former pronunciation sounds a tiny bit like a skin condition one would wish to avoid. Alas.

During a brief google search for some extra information on Clematis, I came across this site. Then I found this site and then this one. It quickly became clear that, while I think Clematis plants are just great, I am in no way capable of matching the enthusiasm others have for thsi genus. They all deserve a shout-out.


Anonymous said...

I prefer cluh-MAT-iss. KLEM-uh-tiss sounds a little Yiddish.

Ms said...

Years ago I thought it was an STD.