Clematis pitcheri Torr. & A. Gray
Purple Leatherflower, Purple Clematis, Leatherflower, Bluebill, Bellflower Clematis, Pitcher's Clematis
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
USDA Symbol: clpi
Bluebill or leather-flower is an herbaceous, perennial vine climbing to 10 ft., or more, by means of twining petioles. Leaves are opposite, divided into 3-5 pairs of leaflets that are marked on the underside by a prominent, raised network of veins. Flowers are nodding, on long, slender stems from the leaf axil. They are dull-purple to brick-red on the outside; dark purple, red, or greenish white on the inside. The 4 sepals are petal-like, thick, and united at the base; they are recurved or only lightly spreading near the tip; petals are absent; stamens many; pistils many
The interesting flowers of Clematis pitcheri are long lasting. The plant is fairly heat and drought-tolerant. It dies to the ground in fall.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Ovate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Stems up to about 12 feet long.
Leaf: Dark dull green and nearly glabrous adaxially, shiny light green. Terminal most leaflets often twisted and acting as tendrils.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Petals absent. Sepals petaloid.
DistributionUSA: AR , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MO , NE , NM , OK , TN , TX
Native Distribution: S.w. IN to e. NE, s. to TX
Native Habitat: Woodlands' edge, thickets, bluff ledges, slopes.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Thick, succulent, urn-shaped petals (which are really sepals) give purple leatherflower its name. The seeds have fluffy tails radiating out like a starburst. Stems of purple leatherflower are brittle and should be supported or tied to a trellis. The interesting flowers of Clematis pitcheri are long lasting. The plant is fairly heat and drought-tolerant. It dies to the ground in fall.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Showy, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Twines on fences & other plants
Use Wildlife: Cover, Seeds-granivorous birds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
PropagationDescription: Plant seed outdoors in the fall or store and stratify before planting. Single, internodal, softwood cuttings taken in summer can be rooted. Clematis spp. are also propagated by late summer layerings.
Seed Collection: Gather seeds when they are no longer green but before the cluster of achenes completely dries and drops the seeds to the ground. Remain viable up to two years without refrigeration.
Seed Treatment: Moist stratify at 41 degrees for 60-90 days. Can take a long time to germinate.
Commercially Avail: yes
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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:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-803 Collected 2006-12-07 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Clematis pitcheri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Clematis pitcheri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Clematis pitcheri
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB