Tag Archives: vine

Pale Leather Flower Clematis versicolor

Finding and photographing a Pale Leather Flower vine in bloom can be challenging. Finding is the easy part as it is fairly common in places it likes to grow. Photographing can be difficult as the vines are often mixed into other vines such as virgin’s bower, yellow passion flower, cat briar and wild yam.

Clematis versicolor Small ex Rydb

May to June                                                  N                                 Family: Ranunculaceae

pale leather flower side flower

Flower: The flower is on a long stalk from a leaf node. It is formed from four sepals fused together in an egg-shape with the large end attached to the stalk. The small end opens up with the ends of the sepals curling out and back. The upper end of the flower is purple. the lower end is white or greenish white. A mass of stamens is inside the flower surrounding several pistils.

Pale Leather Flower flower

Leaf: Opposite leaves have long petioles and can be single or compound with 3 to 5 leaflets. All leaves or leaflets have smooth edges. They form a long oval with a short, tapered, rounded tip. There is a midvein. The other veins form a net lighter in color than the dark green leaf. The underside is light green.

pale leather flower leaf

Stem: Young stems are green and twine around anything nearby. Older stems turn reddish and woody. The stems are ridged. The vines can be fifteen feet long and generally bunch up over another plant rather than running the entire length. The stems put out numerous branches.

pale leather flower under leaf

Root: The perennial root is a rhizome.

pale leather flower stem

Fruit: A ball of seed pods, each like a tall hat with an extra long peak, contains the seeds. These mature and break open the now dry pods to spread a long fluffy line out to get caught by the wind.

pale leather flower fruit

Habitat: This plant likes shady, moist places such as open, low woods and ravines as well as roadsides near these places.


Pale Leather Flower

Leather Flower

pale leather flower plant

Pale Leather Flower vines spread across low growing vegetation and fences. It’s rare for them to go up into trees. The vines can twine but often only sprawl.

The flowers are easy to spot on vines growing along the roads. A single vine can have dozens of flowers on it. The flowers are unusual in both shape and color compared to other plants growing nearby.

Pale Leather Flower is available commercially. The leaves are a nice shade of green. The vines would grow well on a trellis or wire fence. The flowers bob and dance in any breeze on their long stalks. The seed pod groups are interesting to look at.

False Buckwheat Fallopia scandens

Every year the false buckwheat vines grow up over the front porch railings and part way up the posts. They stay as the vines are attractive all summer into fall. Frost kills them but they are easy to pull off and dispose of, no thorns, stickers or burs.


Fallopia scandens Holub

June to November                                       N & I                           Family: Polygonaceae

false buckwheat flower

Flower: Racemes or sprays of flowers 2 inches to 8 inches long stick up from the leaf nodes. The greenish-white flowers form whorls around the flower stalk. Each flower has two inner and three outer petal-like tepals. The outer ones are winged.

false buckwheat leaf

Leaf: The alternate leaves are dark green on top, light green underneath. They are mostly heart-shaped and on petioles which get progressively shorter as the leaf gets further along the vine.

false buckwheat under leaf

Stem: This vine can reach 20 feet long. The stem twines. It is round or ridged, green turning red with age, hairless or with hairs on the ridges. A tan sheathe surrounds the stem at each leaf node.

false buckwheat stem

Root: The perennial fibrous roots get fleshy.

Fruit: The small, black seed is inside the outer three winged tepals which fuse around it. The winged seeds hang down on the flower stalk.

false buckwheat fruit

Habitat: This plant prefers partial shade but tolerates full sun as long as the soil is good and enough moisture is present. It’s found along roads, yards, pastures, edges of woods, along streams and in prairies.


False Buckwheat

Crested Buckwheat

false buckwheat plant

False Buckwheat is one of those plants found worldwide. There are varieties of it so the population is partially the native one and partially an imported variety. The plant is not concerned and grows abundantly under the right conditions.

Numerous vines come from the rootstock. These cover the ground and any object or plant they encounter. The vines can be thick enough to blanket and smother these objects. They look light weight but are heavy enough en masse to bend small plants or saplings to the ground.

The flowers are small but make up for this with their number. The winged seed pods are pretty. Since the vines bloom for two to three months, they make pretty plants for growing on trellises.

False Buckwheat is an aggressive grower and seeds freely. The roots are persistent. In areas where the vines are mowed frequently, they will eventually die out.

Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica

Gardeners plant lots of different plants from all over the world. Some are for food. Others are for their beauty or fragrances. Some of these discover the New World. Japanese Honeysuckle is one of these.

Lonicera japonica Thunb. ex Murray

April to October                               I                                               Family: Caprifoliaceae

Japanese honeysuckle flower

Flower: Flowers sit on a pair of green, pointed, spreading, hairy calyxes in leaf nodes. The flower is a tube for about an inch. Short hairs cover the outside of the tube. The tube then splits into two lobes. The upper lobe has two grooves ending finally diving the lip into three lobes. The lower lip is single but possibly grooved or split at the end into two. These lips add about another inch to the flower. The five stamens and pistil stick out of the flower.

Japanese honeysuckle side flower

Leaf: Opposite oval leaves are sessile and spaced along the younger vines. They have a strong midvein with pairs of side veins easily seen on the underside of the leaf. The leaf is dark green and shiny on top, lighter green on the under side. Short hairs are found along the veins.

Japanese honeysuckle leaf

Stem: Young stems are reddish and covered with hairs. Older stems have shredding woody bark. The stems are vines reaching 15 feet or more and twining about objects they encounter including other stems.

Japanese honeysuckle under leaf

Root: Fibrous perennial roots put out rhizomes. Stems root at leaf nodes if they touch the ground.

Japanese honeysuckle stem

Fruit: The seeds are in dark purple berries most commonly seen in fall.

Japanese honeysuckle fruit

Habitat: This plant grows almost anywhere but prefers drier areas especially fence lines or edges of woods.

Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle plant

When Japanese Honeysuckle starts blooming in the spring, the scent hangs heavy on the air for ten feet or more from the vines. It is a sweet odor clinging like perfume, indeed is used in perfume.

This was one of the reasons this vine was planted. The flowers are a brilliant white against the dark green foliage making it a pretty plant. Other reasons were it’s fast growth, lack of soil fussiness and long blooming period.

The plants bloom into the fall even through light frosts. The late flowers don’t produce berries as they freeze. They do still spread their perfume.

Numerous insects visit the flowers. There is a sweet drop of nectar in each flower which can be tasted safely. Birds eat the berries and spread the seeds.

The vigorous vines twine around anything they encounter tightly enough to strangle other plants. They layer over themselves smothering other plants and fences. Rhizomes start colonies of plants. Stems root at any leaf nodes that touch the ground.

The vines left the gardens behind and moved into the wild. They took their aggressiveness with them. They are now considered an exotic invasive species.

Most vines in the Ozarks are deciduous dropping their leaves in the fall and going dormant for the winter. Japanese Honeysuckle is not deciduous keeping its leaves as far into the winter as it can dropping them only if they freeze solid. This means the vines start growing as soon as the weather warms in the spring long before other vines have leafed out giving this invader a distinct advantage.

Check out the sample pages for Exploring the Ozark Hills under My Books. The book has 84 essays and lots of photographs.