Plant Details

Clematis terniflora

Sweet Autumn Virginsbower, Leatherleaf Clematis

Scientific Name:

Clematis terniflora

Common Name:

Sweet Autumn Virginsbower, Leatherleaf Clematis

Plant Family

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)


Not Native to US

Invasive Status:

Rank 2 - Significant Threat (*)


Herbaceous Vine

Bloom Color(s):


Size in Feet:

to 30 ft


full-sun, part-sun

Bloom Time:

July, August, September

Bloom Area:


Habitat Description:

Disturbed areas

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


Spreads rapidly and can be hard to control. Not Native

NC Rank 2 Invasive, Significant threat

"From the National Park Service website: "This species is found invading forest edges, right-of-ways and urban areas along streams and roads. It grows vigorously over other vegetation, forming dense blankets that block sunlight to the plants underneath. In late summer infestations are conspicuous as a result of its abundant showy white flowers."


Murray Page, late August, 2012


The flowers are fragrant. They are very similar to the native Virgin's Bower, Clematis virginiana, but the native clematis has mostly 3-parted leaves with toothed edges. In seed, the invasive Sweet Autumn Clematis has feathery styles. The styles of Virgin's Bower are smooth and threadlike.


Murray Page, Southport, late August, 2012


The leaves are compound, usually with 5 leaflets that have smooth edges.



USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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