E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Clematis ligusticifolia Nutt.
White Virgin's-bower (pipestems; western white clematis; white clematis; white virgin's bower; Wireweed)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1647)

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Distribution of Clematis ligusticifolia
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Clematis ligusticifolia var. ligusticifolia

Species Information

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Perennial woody vine from a rhizome; stems clambering or climbing, generally to 6 m long (up to 20 m), nearly smooth to densely short stiff-hairy or long soft-hairy; dioecious.
Opposite, pinnately compound, the 5 to 7 leaflets stalked, broadly egg- to lance-shaped, 3-9 cm long,1-7 cm wide, lobed or not, margins entire to coarsely few-toothed, smooth or sparsely soft-hairy on upper surfaces, especially on veins; the stalks persisting, acting as tendrils.
Inflorescences axillary, compound cymes of 7 to 20 flowers on current year's stems, the flowers crowded, unisexual; flower stalks slender, 0.5-3 cm long; petals absent; sepals 4, wide-spreading, white to cream, egg-shaped to oblanceolate, 6-10 mm long, soft-hairy; stamens 25-50, pistillate flowers with sterile stamens; pistils 25-65, staminate flowers without vestigial pistils.
Achenes, elliptic, 3-3.5 mm long, about 1.5 mm wide, silky-hairy; beaks 3-3.5 cm long, feathery-hairy.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: White
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist streambanks, gullies, ditches, riparian thickets, and fencelines in the steppe and lower montane zones; frequent in SC and SE BC; E to MB and S to NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Clematis ligusticifolia

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 296 613 2005
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 150 350
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(31), ESSF(1), ICH(2), IDF(14), MS(3), PP(12)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Clematis brevifolia Howell

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References