This species is treated here as including the var Clematis columbiana var. tenuiloba (A.Gray) J.S.Pringle (syn Clematis tenuiloba (A.Gray) C.L.Hitchc.). Although they are strikingly dissimilar in their extremes, the two varieties intergrade extensively in the wild[
Atragene columbiana Nutt.
Atragene diversiloba (Rydb.) Rydb.
Atragene pseudoalpina (Kuntze) Rydb.
Atragene repens (Kuntze) Rydb.
Atragene tenuiloba (A.Gray) Britton
Clematis alpina repens Kuntze
Clematis occidentalis albiflora Cockerell
Clematis pinetorum Tidestr.
Clematis pseudoalpina (Kuntze) A.Nelson
Clematis pseudoatragene Kuntze
Clematis tenuiloba (A.Gray) C.L.Hitchc.
Clematis verticillaris columbiana (Nutt.) A.Gray
Common Name: Rock Clematis
Clematis columbiana is a deciduous climbing plant with woody stems usually growing up to 1.5 metres tall, occasionally reaching 3.5 metres. The plant scrambles over the ground, climbing into the vegetation where it suppots itself by means of twining leafstalks. One form of the plant has stems that are mainly subterranean, rhizomatous, with aerial stems that are not climbing and are mostly less than 10cm tall. Intermediate forms between these two extremes are often found[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials..
Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, some if not all members of this genus are mildly poisonous. The toxic principle is dissipated by heat or by drying[
Western N. America - Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Dry to moist, often rocky soils of open woods and thickets; at elevations from 1,700 - 2,500 metres[
]. Var tenuiloba is found on cliffs and rocky summits, usually in open sites or open pine forest; at elevations from 1,000 - 3,000 metres[
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Clematis columbiana is native to the temperate zone of the Rocky mountains in western N. America, where it can be found at elevations up to 3,000 metres. A very cold-tolerant plant, when fully dormant it can withstand temperatures down to about -30°c[
Prefers a deep moist soil with its roots in the shade[
]. Dislikes poorly-drained heavy clay soils, but grows well in clay if grit is added for drainage[
]. Dislikes light sandy soils[
]. Does well on chalk[
]. Succeeds in acid as well as alkaline soils[
When planting out, in order to avoid the disease 'clematis wilt', it is best to plant the rootball about 8cm deeper in the soil. This will also serve to build up a good root crown of growth buds[
The plant flowers in the spring and early summer. If any pruning is required then it is best carried out immediately after flowering[
A twining plant[
]. The leafstalks wrap themselves around twigs and branches for support. When a side of the stalk touches an object, the growth on that side slows down whilst the other side grows at its normal rate - this causes the leaf stalk to entwine the object it is touching[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
A poultice of the pounded, dampened leaves has been applied to the feet to treat sweaty feet[
A cold infusion of the plant can be used as a lotion on swollen knees and ankles[
The plant has been used as a head wash and to treat scabs and eczema[
The seed floss makes an excellent tinder for starting fires, a spark from a flint will quickly ignite it[
The seed floss can be used as an insulation in shoes etc[
An infusion of the leaves alone, or the leaves and stems, has been used as a hair wash to prevent gray hair[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. Sow stored seed as soon as it is obtained in a cold frame. Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and remove as much of the tail and outer coat as possible[
]. A period of cold stratification is beneficial[
]. The seed germinates in 1 - 9 months or more at 20°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Internodal cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, late spring in sandy soil in a frame[
Layering of old stems in late winter or early spring[
Layering of current seasons growth in early summer[