Hairy Clematis
Clematis hirsutissima Pursh
Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup
Genus: Clematis
Synonyms: Clematis douglasii
Other names: leatherflower, vase flower
Nomenclature: hirsutissima = most hairy
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Medicinal plant
No edibility data

General: bushy, herbaceous perennial from a woody, branched base, more or less generally woolly-long-hairy to sparsely soft-long-hairy, stems usually several, erect or slightly creeping at base, 20-40 dm, tall, simple.

Leaves: opposite, in several pairs, the lowest ones much reduced, bractlike, entire, transitional to the middle and upper stem leaves, stalkless to short-stalked, the blades up to 13 cm long, 2-4 times pinnately dissected into ultimately linear to narrowly lanceolate segments.

Flowers: single on terminal stalks, nodding, the calyx leathery, urn- to bell-shaped, the sepals usually 4, rarely 5, bluish-purple, grayish-long- to woolly-hairy on the outside but hairless and much more deeply colored within, mostly 2-3 cm long, joined at base, the tips free and usually curved back. Stamens inside flowers, the filaments softly long-hairy. April-July.

Fruits: achenes, densely soft-long-hairy, the persistent styles feathery, 2.5-4.5 cm long.


Grassland, sagebrush plains, and ponderosa pine forests, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from s.c. B.C. and e. WA and OR to WY.
Medicinal Uses

A decoction of the leaves of hairy clematis has been used to treat headaches. The Navajo Indians used the root in the treatment of congested nose pain. 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.

Other Uses

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.

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