Clematis montana from Taiwan Buch.-Ham ex DC. M. Y. Fang

Clematis of the Month for March 2021

described by Pascale Krüger

with photos by Ton Hannink (unless otherwise stated)

C. montana from Taiwan©Ton Hannink
Clematis montana from Taiwan Buch.-Ham ex DC. M. Y. Fang

A typical C. montana 'Mayleen' covering the front of garage©Fiona Woolfenden

A typical C. montana 'Mayleen' covering the front of a garage©Fiona Woolfenden

When you are familiar with Clematis montana you will probably have a vision of it covering a shed, swing or garden fence. Most of the time it is a tumbling but beautiful floriferous plant that will make a statement in your garden.

Most C. montana that we know originated in China. There are several locations where we can find the wild plants as they live in forest, forest margins, slopes, scrub and along streams at a height of 1000m to 4000m. Via the web, we can discover a wider variation of montanas than we ever thought to be out there. The petals and leaves turn out to have many variations due to where they are found.

I’m working together with Ton Hannink and, as his pupil, I’m the lucky one who can work with clematis that are found in the wild. Ton always had the ambition to collect rare plants from the bush and now we can use them for our crossings. Our ideology is to create plants that are stronger, unique and more resistance to diseases because of their wild DNA.

During Ton’s search for wild plant material, he has been receiving montana seeds from China for years now. Most of the time he had plants with white flowers and also during his field trips he only saw wild montanas with the colour white. But that changed a few years ago when we actually received something new. We got white flowers with a pink touch!

Also our most recent montana seeds turned out to be plants with pink flowers with a nice fragrance which is a big asset for spring bloomers.

A pink C. montana from China©Ton Hannink

A pink C. montana from China

C. montana seedling from Yunnan, China©Ton Hannink

C. montana seedling from Yunnan, China

Because most Clematis montana are found in China, Ton was pleasantly surprised to receive montana seeds from Taiwan. Unlike the other montana seeds, these seeds from Taiwan came out only moderately. The young plants were difficult and slow to grow and it took three years until the first flower appeared. Unfortunately it’s not as floriferous as you'd expect a montana to be. The petals of this montana from Taiwan are white, just like many other montanas, but the leaves have a different shape and have another different colour of green than average. What makes this plant rare is that this montana is very short, very similar to Clematis montana var. chrysocoma, only the chrysocoma is more like a shrub.

The Clematis montana from Taiwan grows very slowly, but makes a lot of stems and will only grow up to 2 meters unlike other montanas. The downside is that you have a lot of bush and relatively very little flowers. If we get this montana to be more floriferous it would be an excellent fit for smaller gardens. Unfortunately this fine clematis is also definitely more difficult to propagate by making cuttings then other montanas. That’s why we are still testing to see if we get more flowers and better results for propagating when we grow it under different conditions. We learn that not all montanas will grow, flower and propagate the same.
C. montana from Taiwan©Ton Hannink

C. montana from Taiwan

Leaf of C. montana from Taiwan©Ton Hannink

Leaf of C. montana from Taiwan

Bud of C. montana from Taiwan©Ton Hannink

Bud of C. montana from Taiwan

Close-up of bud of C. montana from Taiwan©Ton Hannink

Close-up of bud of C. montana from Taiwan


Pascale KrügerPascale Krüger



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