SU0827 : Traveller's Joy (Clematis vitalba), Portfield Road

taken 7 years ago, near to Stratford Tony, Wiltshire, Great Britain

Traveller's Joy (Clematis vitalba), Portfield Road
Traveller's Joy (Clematis vitalba), Portfield Road
A quaintly named woody climber, so called from the beauty of its massed fruits along wayside hedgerows. It is also called virgin's bower, after its interlaced stems, old man's beard, after its white seed hairs, and wild clematis.

It belongs to the butter cup family and is common on chalk downs and limestone hills but rare elsewhere. It starts life as a two-leaved seedling, then develops a slender shoot bearing deeply lobed, pale green leaves on long stalks. If a leaf stalk touches a hedgerow stem it quickly becomes a tendril, twisting round to grasp it.

Supported in this way, the main stem, though weak, climbs high into tree crowns, eventually becoming thick and woody with pale brown fibrous bark. It can reach a height of 50ft and live for 60 years.

In May, traveller's joy opens green-white clematis-shaped flowers, with five petals, many stamens and a cluster of separate carpels which ripen by October into small brown seeds, bearing shaggy, divided, white hairs that eventually carry them away on the wind.

Nurserymen use traveller's joy seedlings as stock for choice varieties of clematis; but foresters dislike them, as they smother young timber trees. Gypsies used to smoke lengths of the dry stems.
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SU0827, 18 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 11 September, 2011   (more nearby)
Sunday, 11 September, 2011
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Boundary, Barrier  Roads, Road transport 
Plant (from Tags)
Travellers Joy 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 0839 2757 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:2.8452N 1:52.9014W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 0839 2755
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Other Tags
Minor Road  Hedge 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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