Clematis afoliata is a scrambling vine with stiff, wiry stems and as its name suggests, appears to have no leaves. This is the most unusual of New Zealand’s indigenous clematis. It is a sprawling yellowish-green vine that usually appears as a tangled mass bound together by spiralling tendrils. This pioneer is good for the early stages of ecological restoration projects. However, plants should be grown only from seed as there are male and female plants. As such, cuttings will result in seedless flowering. Very fragrant pale green flowers from October- November followed by fruits in early summer.
Clematis afoliata naturally occurs on open, rocky scrubland or grassland and has been recorded hanging down cliffs. It is found in association with Coprosma shrubs in these inland areas and can be found in the mid-dune areas along the coast in association with (but not limited to) Muehlenbeckia astonii, Ozothamnus leptophylla, Coprosma acerosa, and Poa cita. For more information about sand dune communities, recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.
For additional photos, visit Alan Jolliffe’s horticulture blog here.