Sweet Autumn Virgin's Bower

Clematis terniflora

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Climbing, semi-evergreen, ornamental vine, grows vigorously to 30 ft. Leaves are opposite, compound (with 3-5 leaflets), margins entire. White, fragrant, four-petaled flowers appear in the late summer through the fall. Seed heads have long, silvery-gray, feather-like hairs attached. The native species (C. virginiana) is very similar (margins of leaves of the native tend to be toothed), but not as prone to self-seeding and spreading.


Found invading forest edges, rights of ways and urban green space especially near creeks found in forests, open woodland gardens, and semi-shaded forest edge. It can grow in semi-shade or no shade.

Location in Nebraska

Found in only a few counties in Eastern Nebraska.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Native to Japan and China and was introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant, but has escaped. Reproduces by seeds and vegetatively.


Vigorous growth rate, forms a dense tangle that can completely overtake supporting structures/plants. It will run rampant in neglected areas and smother native vegetation. This plant will also compete with native vine species for resources.

Photo Credits: 

Chris Evans, River to River CWMABugwood.org
Karan A. Rawlins, University of GeorgiaBugwood.org
Richard Webb, Bugwood.org