I have a beautiful Clematis virginiana growing near the gate on the fence that surrounds my pool. It is called Virgin’s bower and sometimes devil’s darning needles or woodbine. It is a male plant. It never has seeds.
This particular plant came from Door Landscape and Nursery in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. Owner Cliff Orsted “grew it from seed collected from vines growing over shrubs and into the lower branches of trees in a moderately canopied deciduous woods very close to the shores of Lake Michigan about 10 miles south of the ship canal.” (Wish I knew then, what I know now….)
“The vines were 25-30 feet in length. Its habit was very open and airy. I suspect this was because of the moderate light conditions under the deciduous canopy.”
Male vs. Female
All clematis plants are male, female, or monoecious (both staminate and pistillate). The male plant never has seeds, but is creamy white and showy. The female flowers are white and develop seeds and brown achenes sprouting spidery filaments (another common name is old man’s beard). Many gardeners enjoy these unique, feathery seed heads as much as they do the masses of flowers.
I can add that the plant doesn’t seem to be very picky about its location, except for the sun. My specimen grows in a sunny location except early morning/late afternoon. Where it gets no sun, it doesn’t flower. But it is growing in very limited soil between the driveway and the concrete slabs that form the deck of my pool.
A Pollinator Magnet
My clematis is a pollinator magnet. While in bloom, it is buzzing constantly throughout the day with more insects than I can count. I’ve seen bumblebees, mud dauber wasps, blue mud wasps, leaf cutters, and many halictid bees. These vines are hosts of all kinds of destructive aphids.
All have been friendly as I’ve walked back and forth from the pool area many times during the day. Consider trying this vine to enhance your habitat for pollinators, but leave plenty of room. Its vines grow over plants and shrubs and into the lower branches of trees.
The caption of my photo on my e-mail: The female has smooth to moderately serrated leaf margins and four-petaled, and occasionally, five-petaled flowers. The flowers are white and develop seeds and brown achenes sprouting spidery filaments.