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A deciduous climber, growing 5 or 6 ft high; stems slender, slightly ribbed, downy when quite young. Leaves 3 to 8 in. long, pinnately divided into three, five, or seven segments, which are themselves either deeply lobed or trifoliolate; the ultimate subdivisions varying from linear to obovate or oblong, 1⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, coarsely and unequally toothed, downy. Flowers nodding, produced in August and September on erect, slender stalks 1 to 2 in. long, which come either singly from the joints of the stem, or three or five together at the end of short axillary branches, the whole terminal part of the shoot being transformed into a leafy panicle. Each flower is pale yellow, narrowly bell-shaped, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long; the sepals narrow oblong. Seed-vessels with white feathery styles 5⁄8 in. long.
Native of N. China and Manchuria; introduced to Kew by way of St Petersburg about 1875. Although one of the smaller climbing clematises, it is a free grower, and forms a dense tangle of its slender stems. The finely divided foliage is very elegant. It blossoms in great profusion, the whole plant being covered with the little pendent bells, which, although not highly coloured, are pretty and graceful.
var. latisecta Maxim., is a form with leaf-divisions of the broader shape given above. Bot. Mag., t. 6542.
This attractive species had become rare in gardens, but was reintroduced by Roy Lancaster in 1980 by means of seeds collected under the Great Wall of China. The plants raised vary in flower colour from off-white to yellow, as they do in the wild.