Clematis have been around for hundreds of years and is such a varied and diverse cultivar. We have a collection of about 400 different varieties but there are over 2,000 out there (somewhere)
Clematis can be very tall and wide with the montana
types, and then can also be very small, tiny mound forming clematis which only grow 1-2 feet with the Bijou
and the Filigree
We have clematis that don't mind temperatures that are as low as -40 ! with the alpina
Early plant collectors brought examples back to europe, which were soon to enrich it's flora. One of the first to be introduced to England was C. viticella, which was brought from Spain in 1569. This was followed in 1596 by three other European species, C. cirrhosa, C. integrifolia and C. flammula. They were all used in hybridising programmes to produce new varieties. It was not until the 19th century that the stock for the large flowered clematis, which is so admired today was introduced from China, C. lanuginosa for example and C. patens from Japan. The Victorians took to clematis in a big way. Unfortunately the then little understood disease clematis wilt, decimated the commercial stocks and it was not until after the second world war that nurseries were once more able to pursue serious large scale propagation. However the legacy of the Victorians does live on, many of the popular large flowered clematis available today come from the last century.
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