Clematis forsteri

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Clematis forsteri


Clematis: From the Greek klema 'vine', alluding to the vine-like habit of many species

Common Name(s)

Forster's clematis

Current Threat Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Previous Threat Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Clematis forsteri J.F.Gmel.



Brief Description

Cream-flowered vine with variable shaped leaflets in threes

Flora Category

Vascular - Native


Clematis australis var. rutifolia (Hook.f.) Allan; Clematis hexasepala var. rutifolia Hook.f.; Clematis colensoi Hook.f.; Clematis colensoi var. rutifolia (Hook.f.) Hook.f.; Clematis hexapetala L.f.; Clematis hexasepala DC.; Clematis australis Kirk


Endemic. North and South Islands. From Auckland area south to northern Westland and Canterbury


Lowland forest and forest margins, especially forest margins, open spaces and streamsides


Variable evergreen woody climber; stems to 5 m long, 5-10 mm diam. at base; branchlets grooved, sparsely hairy when young, becoming glabrous. Leaves 3-foliate, opposite, 3-10(-16) x (3-)4-8(-14) cm; petioles (1-)2-5(-7) cm long, stout, glabrous. Leaflets 14-55 x 9-28, simple to pinnate, simple leaflets lanceolate to deltoid, margins crenate, serrate or deeply pinnatifid to bipinnatifid, apices apiculate, base attenuate to truncate, petiolules 10-60 mm long, grooved, twining, glabrous or sparsely hairy, hairs white, becoming glabrate; midvein and secondary veins visible above, more obvious below; lamina thin to coriaceous, dark green to grey-green, tip acute, base truncate to subcordate, undersides paler. Juvenile leaves larger, thinner. Inflorescences unisexual, conspicuous, of solitary or 2-10-flowered clustered in leaf axils or in dichasial cymes of 5-10 flowers; pedicels 25-95 mm long moderately to densely hairy; inflorescence bracts 3-13(-18) x 1-4(-8), linear to elliptic, acute to obtuse, paired, united, inserted about middle of pedicel, glabrous to moderately hairy. Flowers spicey scented. Male to 4 cm diam., sepals 5-6, narrowly to broadly elliptic, lanceolate or ovate, imbricate, glabrous or sparsely silky hairy above (rarely glabrous above), silky hairy to hairy beneath, 10-25 x 3-13 mm, cream, base often flushed red-brown; stamens 20-37, anthers 2.4-3.5 mm long, filaments glabrous., 3-11 mm long. Female sepals 5-6(-7), similar to male, 13-25 x 3.8-7 mm; Carpels 35-48; staminodes 1-6. Achenes hairy, elliptic, or rarely narrowly elliptic, narrowed to apex, compressed, margin thickened and distinct, surface unornamented or occ. ridged, (2.6-)3.0-4.5(-5.1) mm long, styles (15-)20-35(-40) cm long at fruiting, white-plumose for most of length, glabrous or with short hairs at base.

Similar Taxa

Similar to the white larger-flowered C. paniculata. Also similar to both C. foetida and C. cunninghamii both of which have brownish hairs on young leaves and elsewhere. Closest to C. petriei from which it can be distinguished by the yellow-green evenly coloured and near-glabrous above sepals and the narrower more pointed floral bracts.



Main Flower Colour


Other Flower Colour





Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 16

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



References and further reading

Heenan, P.B; Cartman, J. 2000. Reinstatement of Clematis petriei (Ranunculaceae), and typification and variation of C. forsteri. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38: 575-585.

Adams, N.M. 1951. Clematis hexasepala. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 51: 23

Anonymous. 1950. Clematis colensoi. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 23: 23

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309.

This page last updated on 28 Oct 2014

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