Sweet-Autumn Clematis, sweet autumn virgin’s bower, Japanese virgin’s bower, leatherleaf clematis, yam-leaved clematis
Description: evergreen perennial vine
Place of origin: Japan
Urban habitat: thrives in disturbed sites; found at abandoned building sites, along roadsides, fences, streams, railroad tracks, and in waste dump sites; can grow in gravelly and sandy soils and tolerates full sun to partial shade; climbs by twining and can grow up to 30 ft in height; vines spread rapidly by scrambling over surrounding plants and blocking sunlight.
Ecological function: disturbance-adapted early successional plant; habitat for wildlife.
History: Clematis terniflora was first introduced into North America as an ornamental in 1864, and has naturalized in the eastern US. It currently found from New England to Florida, west to Texas and north to Ontario and in parts of California. Although considered invasive in many US states, it continues to be cultivated, used as a privacy screen along fences and for the sweet fragrance of its white flowers. It has been used for centuries in Japan for medicinal purposes as treatment for gout and as a diuretic. It is known to contain properties useful in treating skin infections and cataracts. Its flowers and leaves are edible when cooked.