Botanical Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Related To: larkspur, love-in-a-mist, monkshood, Lenten rose, columbine
Born In: primarily of Asian origin, but a few of the 300 or so clematis species are native to Europe and North America
Bred By: George Jackman of Surrey, England bred the first variety of clematis introduced to European gardeners in 1862; Raymond Evison of Guernsey, UK is the most prolific clematarian alive today, having introduced over 100 varieties in the last four decades, including many that have won medals at the world’s top flower shows
All-Star Varieties: ‘Polar Bear’ (extra-large double white variety AKA ‘Arctic Queen’); Jackmanii (George Jackman’s original introduction, a purple-flowered variety); ‘Betty Corning’ (highly fragrant light purple variety)
Fun Fact: The leaves of clematis contain essential oils that give them a spicy flavor. Though the plant is considered toxic if consumed in large quantities, settlers in the American West used the ground leaves as a pepper substitute to liven up their meals.