THE CLEAMTIS GROUP SYSTEM

Clematis are divided into groups, bringing together those varieties that are similar in habit and character, thus giving us their times of flowering and their needs for pruning. Clematis used to be catalogued under each group which made it rather confusing, but nowadays they are listed in alphabetical order in most catalogues, often with a letter beside each variety indicating the group to which that variety belongs. With the introduction of many new varieties I feel that the groups are now so intermixed that any reference to them in catalogues is both unhelpful and confusing to the vast majority of gardeners.

As the groups have become so intermixed during the last hundred years of cross-breeding, it is not always clear to which group certain varieties belong. The main trouble is with the Patens and Lanuginosa varieties which have become so mixed that it is difficult to separate them. However, I have attempted to do this by listing under the Patens Group all those that flower on year-old ripened wood in May and June and do not/lower again until September, when they do so, with smaller flowers on the young wood, produced during the summer. In the Lanuginosa Group I have listed all those varieties that flower on year-old ripened wood in May and June, and throughout the summer at intervals on young wood produced in the early summer. The other groups are fairly straightforward.

Atragene Group

The first group, then, is the attractive group which is really a separate genera called Atragene, but is now listed under clematis, flowering in the early part of the year on year-old ripened wood and therefore need no pruning. They include the following varieties: alpina varieties: macropetala varieties

Montana Group

The second group is the montana group which includes the evergreen varieties. They also flower on year-old wood from January to May and need no pruning: armandii: spooneri calycina: spooneri rosea chrysocoma: vedrariensis Hidcote variety cirrhosa: vedrariensis Highdown montana varieties

Patens Group

The third group is the Patens group which produce very large flowers on short stems from old ripened wood in May and June and need no pruning. They do not flower during the summer but in September will often produce smaller flowers on the young wood. They include the following varieties: Elsie Frost, Annabel, Appare, Barbara Dibley, Barbara Jackman, Bees Jubilee, Blue Diamond, Charissima, Capitan Thuilleaux, Dr. Ruppel, Edouard Desfosse, Elizabeth Foster, Etoile de Paris, Gillian Blades, Gladys Picard, Herbert Johnson, H. F. Young, Joan Picton, Joan Wilcox, Kathleen Wheeler, Keith Richardson, Lasurstern, Lincoln Star, Lord Nevill, Marcel Moser, Margaret Wood, Miss Bateman, Moonlight, Mrs. N. Thompson, Mrs. P. B. Truax, Nelly Moser, Percy Lake, Percy Picton, Sally Cadge, Sir Garnet Wolseley, Richard Pennell, The President.

Florida Group

The fourth group is the Florida group, which includes all the double and semi-double varieties. They also flower on short growths from the old wood in May and June and need no pruning. In the summer and autumn they will produce single flowers on the young wood. They include the following varieties: Beauty of Worcester, Belle of Woking, Countess of Lovelace, C. florida bicolor, Daniel Deronda, Duchess of Edinburgh, Haku Ookan, Halina Noll, Jane Cadge, Kathleen Dunford, Miss Crawshay, Mrs. Spencer Castle, Proteus, Violet Elizabeth, Vyvyan Pennell, Walter Pennell.

Lanuginosa Group

The fifth group is the Lanuginosa group, by far the largest group of all, it includes most of the varieties that flower from June to September, both on old and young wood, should not be pruned but can be if desired. They do not flower in a continuous mass as witlvthe Jackmanii group but flower successionally on short, lateral summer growths.

They include Beauty of Richmond, Belle Nantaise, Blue Gem, Bracebridge Star, Crimson King, C. W. Dowman, Dawn, Duchess of Sutherland, Edith, Elsa Spath, Eva Maria, Fair Rosamund, Fairy Queen, Henryi, Hidcote Purple, Horn of Plenty, John Warren, King Edward VII, King George V, Lady

C. Neville, Lady Gray, Lady Londesborough, Lady Northcliffe, Lawsoniana, Madame le Coultre, Maureen, C. lanuginosa, Miriam Markham, Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Cholmondeley, Mrs. George Jackman, Mrs. Hope, Mrs. Oud, Percy Robinson, Pennell’s Purity, Prins Hendrik, Ramona, Ruby Glow, Scartho Gem, Sealand Gem, Silver Moon, Susan Alsop, Veronica’s Choice, Violet Charm, Wada’s Primrose, W. E. Gladstone, Will Goodwin, William Kennett, Xerxes.

Graveolens Group

The sixth group is the Graveolens group which consists of many of the small-flowered species flowering in panicles from the axillary growths of the young wood.

They include afoliata, campaniflora, eriostemon, fargesii, flammula, fusca, grata, heraclefolia varieties, integrifolia varieties, jouiniana, orientalis, paniculata, pitcherii, rehderiana, serratifolia, tangutica gravetye, viorna, vitalba.

Jackmanii Group

The seventh group is the Jackmanii group and consists of those varieties that bloom continuously throughout the summer on the young wood and need hard pruning every year.

They include Ascotiensis, Comtesse de Bouchaud, Ernest Markham, Gipsy Queen, Hagley Hybrid, Jackmanii, Jackmanii alba, Jackmanii rubra, Jackmanii superba, Lady Betty Balfour, Madame Baron Veillard, Madame Edouard Andre, Madame Grange, Margaret Hunt, Niobe, Perle d’Azur, Pink Fantasy, Rouge Cardinal, Serenata, Star of India, Twilight, Victoria, Ville de Lyon, Voluceau.

Viticella Group

The eighth group is the Viticella group which also flowers on the young wood but later in the season, and with smaller blooms, most of them flowering from July to October. These also require hard pruning in the winter.

They include Etoile Violette, Huldine, Madame Julia Correvon, Margot Koster, Venosa Violacea and the Viticella varieties.

Texensis Group

The ninth group consists of semi-herbaceous varieties from America and are called the Texensis group. The parent plant which grows wild in Texas is a fascinating plant. It is called C.

Coccinea and the popular name is The Scarlet Clematis or The Leatherflower. The flowers are urn-shaped, scarlet in colour, the brightest colour in clematis, about an inch in length with very thick leathery sepals which do not open, remaining hanging down on the plant like small pitchers, unfortunately not obtainable in this country. Other varieties in the group have been crossed with large-flowering varieties and the sepals open wider than the type. All are semi-herbaceous and die down to the ground in the winter. They include the following varieties:

C. texensis, Countess of Onslow, Duchess of Albany, Duchess of York, Etoile Rose, Grace Darling, Gravetye Beauty, Sir Trevor Lawrence.

Erecta Group

The tenth and last group is the Erecta group which includes the non-climbing herbaceous varieties. The name of the group is rather odd, as the first letter ‘e’ has been lost in the course of time. The plant which names this group is now called ‘recta’ instead of ‘erecta’. Where it lost its ‘e’ is a mystery, but a hundred years ago it was definitely called erecta. All this group need cutting down to the ground in the winter.

Others of this group include

C. heracleifolia, C. integrifolia, C. integrifoUa Durandii, C. recta.

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