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A very vigorous climber, growing 30 ft or more high, and forming a thick tangle; young stems slightly downy. Leaves composed of three or (usually) five leaflets, which are dark green on both sides, heart-shaped or ovate, 1 to 3 in. long, not lobed or toothed, nearly or quite glabrous, and comparatively long-stalked. The blades of the largest leaflets resemble in form and colour the leaves of the common lilac. Flowers scented like hawthorn, 1 in. or more across, produced during September and October in forked panicles, 3 to 4 in. long, from the axils of the current year’s growth. Sepals four, white, oblong. Seed-vessels with grey feathered styles 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, rarely seen in Britain.
Native of Japan; discovered by Thunberg, who lived in that country in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. He named it C. paniculata, under which name it has long been known in gardens, but this name had, unfortunately, been used a few years earlier for the New Zealand clematis better known as C. indivisa.
C. maximowicziana (paniculata) has never been largely planted in the British Isles, for, although hardy and vigorous enough, it rarely flowers with freedom, and usually too late in the season to develop well. In the eastern United States, on the other hand, it is one of the most beautiful and wonderful of climbing plants, producing its pure white flowers in marvellous profusion. In Britain it lacks, no doubt, sufficient summer sun to bring out its best qualities, and would be happiest against a south wall. It is an ally of C. flammula, but much more vigorous.
This species also occurs in Korea and China.