Blue Clematis
Clematis occidentalis
(Hornem.) DC.
Synonym: C. columbiana. Other names: blue virgin's bower.
Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup
Genus: Clematis

General: perennial woody vine, strongly climbing or
creeping on the ground, somewhat softly long-hairy to
sparsely woolly-hairy, with slender stems.
Leaves: opposite, on stalks 5-10 cm long, divided into 3
leaflets with individual stalks about 1-2 cm long, the leaflets
ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 3-6 cm long, pointed, entire or
blunt- to sharply toothed.
Flowers: solitary,
nodding, terminal on naked stalks
5-15 cm long from leaf axils on branches. Petals lacking,
sepals 4, free, showy, petal-like, ovate- lanceolate to
elliptic-lanceolate, usually pointed, 3.5-6 cm long, blue to
reddish-purple. Staminodia often present, with flattened and
somewhat broadened filaments, but not much broader than
the fertile stamens.
Flowering time: May-July.
Fruits: achenes, small, inconspicuous, short-hairy, with
long, feathery styles 3-6 cm long in fluffy clusters.

Moist to dry soil in wooded to open areas, often on talus
slopes, foothills to montane zone, in w. and c. parts of MT.
Also from B.C. and Alberta southward, on the e. side of the
Cascade Mts., to WA, n.e. OR, and WY.

Medicinal plant: see below.
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English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
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Medicinal Uses:
A poultice of the pounded, dampened leaves of blue clematis has been applied by the Okanagan-Colville Indians to the feet to treat sweaty feet. They also made a tea of leaves alone or the stems and leaves and used it as a hair wash to prevent gray hair. The Navajo Indians used a cold tea of the plant as a lotion on swollen knees and ankles. The Thompson Indians used the plant as a head wash and to treat scabs and eczema.

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 also be used as an insulation in shoes etc.

Our specimen belong to var. grosseserrata (Rydb.) J. Pringle.

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