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   There is considerable confusion about the correct name for the plants shown on this page.

   The Flora of North America indicates that Clematis with entire margins (as shown below on this page) should rightfully be named Clematis occidentalis. Plants with serrated leaflets are rightfully called Clematis columbiana.

   The Flora of the Four Corners Region agrees but indicates that Clematis occidentalis with smooth-margined leaves does not exist in our area.

   Weber indicates that the genus should be Atragene and that the species shown below would then be A. occidentalis which he goes on to say was known from his previous editions as A. columbiana.

    Linnaeus named the Clematis genus in 1753. 

     See also white Clematis

Clematis columbiana

Clematis columbiana

Clematis occidentalis var. grosseserrata.  Synonyms: Atragene occidentalis, Atragene columbiana, Clematis occidentalis, Clematis columbiana variety columbiana.  (Clematis)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills, montane. Woodlands.  Spring, early summer.
Shearer Creek Trail, May 17, 2006 and Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2010.

The large flowers of this Clematis do not mean that the plant is conspicuous, for the plant tends to twine along the ground, into low bushes, and up tree trunks in deep forest shade among other green foliage. You will rarely spot it from trails; look for it in brushy areas, especially near the bottom of moist mountainsides.

Linnaeus named the Atragene genus in 1753. Thomas Nuttall named this species Atragene columbiana in 1834 from specimens collected by Nathaniel Wyeth in 1833 in Montana; Torrey and Gray renamed it Clematis columbiana in 1838; and Jens Hornemann (1770-1841) named it Atragene occidentalis.

The word "Atragene" is of unknown meaning and origin.  "Clematis" is an ancient Greek name for various climbing plants and "columbiana" is for its location, Columbia, i.e., America.

Clematis columbiana

Clematis columbiana

Clematis occidentalis var. grosseserrata.  Synonyms: Atragene occidentalis, Atragene columbiana, Clematis occidentalis, Clematis columbiana variety columbiana.  (Clematis)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills, montane. Woodlands.  Spring, early summer.
Taylor Creek Trail, June 2, 2004 and Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2010.

Flowers are large with hairy, prominently veined, pointed sepals.  Flowers often nod.

Range maps © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Clematis columbiana

    Clematis occidentalis var. grosseserrata

Range map for Clematis occidentalis var. grosseserrata

See also white Clematis