Common Name
Clematis, Virgin's bower, traveller's joy, leather flower
Botanic Name
Clematis (200 species)
Plant Family
Common in temperate gardens. Prefers cool, well drained soils.
Temperate climates. Many species and hybrids come from China and Japan
Clematis ligusticifolia
Toxic Principle
Clematis species contain the irritant glycoside ranunculin that is converted to protoanemonin when the plant tissues are chewed and macerated. Protoanemonin levels amongst the species vary, and appear to be low. Protoanemonin is the vesicant or blistering agent, and it is polymerized to the non toxic anemonin. The dried plant contains mostly anemonin and is therefore not toxic.
Perennial, woody, deciduous or evergreen vines, that climb by means of their twisting leaf-stalk tendrils. The opposite leaves are simple, or compound, with entire or serrated margins. The flowers are produced either singly or in many flowered panicles, the petals are absent, and instead large showy sepals in colors ranging from white, greenish-white, purple, violet, red or, yellow are distinctive. The many stamens are prominent. The flowers are followed by masses of fluffy, silvery seed heads.
Animals browsing on the plant may develop excessive salivation and reddening of the oral mucous membranes. Diarrhea may result if enough of the plant is eaten
Usually not necessary as the symptoms resolve soon after the animal stops eating the plant.
Special Notes
Lactating animals may secrete the bitter tasting protoanemonin through the milk giving it an unpleasant taste. References 1. Hill R,Van Heyningen R. Ranunculin: the precursor of the vesicant substance in Buttercup. Biochem J 1951, 49:332-335. 2. Bonora A, Dall’Olio G, Bruni A: Separation and quantification of protoanemonins in Ranunculaceae by normal and reversed phase HPLC. Planta Med 1985,51:364-367.
Hybrid Clematis
Hybrid Clematis
Clematis seed heads
Clematis ligusticifolia seed heads