Monday, April 13, 2015

A southern African clematis

I took myself for a necessary walk at Kirstenbosch - a major perk of being in Cape Town (and essentially free, since I am a member of the Botanical Societymission statement: To win the hearts, minds and material support of individuals and organizations for conservation, cultivation, study and wise use of the indigenous flora and vegetation of southern Africa.")

Coming down the slopes to a wide path that crosses the garden south-north, I was stopped by a gorgeous scrambling climber, in full bloom in this southern autumn.

Clematis brachiata (which I have seen in Lesotho) was crossed with Clematopsis scabiosifolia, also called bush clematis. The result is this hybrid.

The air around the clematis was richly scented. In this Veld and Flora article about the plant's backstory, Rod Saunders, who bred it, attributes the scent to the Clematopsis part of the pairing; that plant is native to the Witwatersrand, at home in nutrient-poor soil and able to withstand the cold Highveld winters.

I fell in love. Flowers, seedheads, scent.

Seed hunters Rob and Rachel Saunders own Cape Town-based Silverhill Seeds, a mail order seed company.  Browse if dare.


  1. It looks like a wild and crazy Japanese anemone!

  2. Do you know if Silverhill Seeds will send seeds to the U.S. and, if so, whether those seeds will be allowed entry by U.S. customs?

    1. Best to visit their website, Leslie; they seemed to have a US option.

  3. Lovely. Any idea how hardy it might be?

  4. ^ Well, it's growing in a Mediterranean climate now, so not very. But one half of its parentage can take overnight freezes.

  5. Not to do with flowers... You and that frency would be excellent travel/Tourist guides in S.A I think. All the nervous europeans for starter and probably even mor nervous gringos.. :) You would be able to combine your talents and interests better there, I think. Just a thought.
    A. Kassberg

  6. + lower rent in S.A ?
    A. Kassberg


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