Seed heads of two clematis species catch the light in the Jardin des Plantes….



Tibetan Clematis tangutica…


clematis seed head


and European native Clematis vitalba.  The latter is known as Old Man’s Beard in Britain, where it is common in chalk and limestone country.  By the time the seeds are fully ripe and the seed hairs have expanded ready for take off the ‘beards’ are wispy and delicate.



Earlier in the season (here in Normandy in October) the seed heads are much more beard like.   The long feathery hair attached to each seed gives the plant great dispersal ability.  That’s not a problem in its native range but the plant can be worryingly invasive in sensitive habitats elsewhere.

(Double click on any photo for a close-up view)