Photo by Axel Kristinsson, Reykjavík, Iceland

The Nature Nut

Rosamund Pojar

Late May to early June is a good time to watch out for the lovely flowers of the native blue clematis. The flowers remind me of ethereal dancers prancing among the shrubbery at the edges of the forests.

The four downward-pointing, brilliant blue, petals look just like delicate ballet dresses.

Clematis occidentalis is the only native vine that grows around here. We are at the northern edge of its range. Because it blends into the background it is easy to miss. Watch for it rambling over other shrubs in the shaded edges of the forests.

I usually see it up on Call Ridge and similar habitats, but I notice that recent Fire Smart activities on Call Ridge may well have inadvertently removed it, making it harder to find.

It does not transplant well at all, but I have succeeded in getting it to grow from seed. I collected seeds and placed them on a pot of soil with a few leaves scattered on top and promptly forgot about them.

Several years later, they germinated, and I now have the plant climbing up my rose bushes and aspens.