Traveller's Joy Overview
Clematis vitalba is a climbing shrub species in the Ranunculaceae family of buttercups. Its also known by the names old man's bears and travellers joy. This species is deciduous and thus loses its green foliage in the autumn and regrows new leaves in the spring. It has branched, grooved stems and becomes woody with age. Leaves are oval in shape, with toothed edges. Foliage is divided into a pinnate arrangement comprised of between 3-5 oval leaflets, these are oppositely arranged on stems. This plant is a common UK sight, often seen scrambling over hedges. Flowers are white, with a slight yellow tinge, these are produced in clusters and the flowers have prominent, long stamens which extend beyond the 'petals'. Appears to have 4 petals, however these are in fact sepal structures which surround flower buds as a layer of protection. Flowers measure approximately 2cm across, appearing from July to September (UK). They develop into feathery seedheads, coloured white-grey and termed achenes. These are a form of simple, dry fruit containing 1 seed, the pod of which doesn't split to release the seed contents.