Today's entry was both photographed and written by Taisha. She writes:
To highlight tomorrow's upcoming plant sale and event, A Growing Affair, I chose a plant that will be included in the sale. I did want to do a grass, as Daniel will be manning that post, however they weren't cooperating photographically yesterday and instead Clematis cirrhosa, aka early clematis or winter-flowering clematis, caught my eye.
Clematis cirrhosa from the Ranunculaceae is native to the Mediterranean. This species belongs to the subgenus Montanae, which uniquely possess nodding flowers and small bracts on the pedicels. This evergreen climber can reach 8m in height on a slender, 6-ribbed stem. Flowers are solitary or paired and generally have 4 sepals that are creamy-white and can sometimes be flecked with purple markings inside and green on the exterior. The fruit is an achene (a dry indehiscent fruit) with a silky plumose tail, as seen clearly in today's photo.
Plants do well in sunny spots with moderately-draining soils. It is recommended to keep the roots cool by shading the base of the plant. During hot summers, this species may go into dormancy, but no need to panic, as when the temperature drops in autumn it will start to re-grow. To avoid a single stem and promote branching, cut back this "group one" clematis in the early summer. Any pruning should be done immediately after flowering to ensure a nice display for next year, as the new flowers grow from nodes of the previous year's shoots. Clematis can be propagated either by double leaf bud cuttings or layering in the spring, or grown by seed.
Clematis cirrhosa has been noted to have antifungal activity (see: Ali-Shtayeh, MS & SI Ghdeib. 1998. Antifungal activity of plant extracts against dermatophytes. Mycoses. 42:665-672). An aqueous extract made from the plants secondary metabolites was 90-100% effective in reducing colony growth of Trichophyton violaceum, a fungus that can cause scaly lesions of skin, nails, beard and scalp.