Clematis ligusticifolia Nutt.
Western white clematis, Virgin's bower, Pepper vine, Hierba de chivo
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
USDA Symbol: CLLI2
A strong, woody or semi-woody climber to 20 ft. or more. The wide clusters of creamy-white blossoms, from leaf axils on the upper portions of the plant, occur in such profusion they impart a white color to the whole mass of growth. These are followed by light-catching, silky seed plumes. Deciduous leaves are pinnately compound with 5-7 leaflets.
This species’ traditional name, Pepper Vine, referred to the acrid, peppery taste of the stems and leaves, which Native Americans chewed as a remedy for colds and sore throats. It is said that the crushed roots were placed in the nostrils of tired horses to revive them. Caution is advised: The genus is known to have poisonous species.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Climber
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , KS , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , PA , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC , SK
Native Distribution: B.C. to Baja CA, e. to Alt., the Dakotas, w. NE & NM
Native Habitat: Woods along streams; moist, brushy coulees
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Clematis ligusticifolia is widely adaptable, tough and disease-resistant. Rejuvenate by cutting back to 1 ft. above ground every 3-5 years. In very dry, hot areas, provide afternoon shade and mulch to keep the roots cool.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Showy seeds.
Use Wildlife: Browsed by deer.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Severe pain in mouth if eaten; skin irritation if touched or inhaled. Symptoms include burning sensation of mouth and mouth ulcers; skin redness and burning sensation. Toxic Principle: Anemonin.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds in fall (slow to germinate). Increase by late-spring cuttings or by layering.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: A 60-180 day period of cold-moist stratification at 33-40 degrees aids in the germination of stored seeds.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Clematis ligusticifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Clematis ligusticifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Clematis ligusticifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-06-21
Research By: TWC Staff