Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
Visitors at this time of the year often remark about the fluffy pom-poms near the central entrance to our Flower Garden. They are the seed heads of the orange peel clematis (Clematis tibetana), a climbing vine which is allowed to grow over the panicle hydrangea.
Each seed is attached to a silky tail and there are several seeds clustered together into a seed head. Eventually, the clusters break apart and the seeds drift away, carried on the wind by their wispy tails.
Another attractive feature of this particular clematis is its gray-green (glaucous) foliage. This will be remain until it is killed back by the first severe frosts of winter.
The orange peel clematis is native to the Himalayas, as the specific epithet tibetana suggests.