Feathered Seeds

Autumn clematis is completely charming, even in the winter. It’s the seeds. Of course, the seeds can also be a big problem.

Autumn clematis seed clusters in situ.
Autumn clematis seeds have fluffy, plumed tails. Photographed December 5, 2018.

I suspect that the feathers are there to help the seed travel a little further from its parent, but I have never seen seedlings from it.

Unfortunately, autumn clematis is listed as invasive. Be very careful with this plant. I think the reason for its good behavior in my yard is the relatively terrible spot it occupies—dry shade under a silver maple. If that’s not enough, it is underplanted with, among other things, Yugoslavian geranium, Carex pensylvanica, grape hyacinths, asters, Tulipa tarda, and bluebells. And did I mention that I do not water this particular bed, ever?

Poison ivy and garlic mustard encroach and get pulled regularly from the rental behind the fence, so I would say that at least in dry shade in this area autumn clematis is not as thuggish as poison ivy and garlic mustard—and Japanese honeysuckle!