Clematis marmoraria


Clematis: From the Greek klema 'vine', alluding to the vine-like habit of many species

Common Name(s)

North-west Nelson Marble Clematis

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable
2004 - Gradual Decline


2012 - CD, RR
2009 - CD, RR


Clematis marmoraria Sneddon



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Lianes and Related Trailing Plants


None (described in 1975)


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Confined to two sites within north west Nelson, Kahurangi National Park).


Alpine marble karrenfield where it grows in either in crevices in massive marble, or amongst semi-fixed rocks, stones and similar rocky sites in open herbfield


A low rupestral dioecious subshrub with slender taproot and several stems, spreading in suitable habitats by a succession of suckers. Stems perennial, c.1-2 mm diameter, up to 500 mm long, almost or quite glabrous and inconspicuously grooved. Underground part of suckers 40-500 mm long with 2-14 pairs of much reduced leaves (internodes 1-60 mm long); usually rooting and branching at some nodes. Aerial stems erect to decumbent, very short (40-100 mm) but longer in shade, internodes 1-40 mm long; usually sparingly branched. Underground leaves 1-5 mm long, entire to minutely lobed. Green leaves ± crowded, subcoriaceous to coriaceous, almost glabrous, up 40 mm long, living c.2 years before slowly decaying to base. Petioles 5-18 mm long, channelled, not twining. Laminae broad-ovate to angular-ovate in outline when fresh, variously dissected (with major segments ± ascending and overlapping) from multifid-multipartite to deeply 3-lobed to 3-foliolate; lobes or leaflets deeply incised 2-3 times (to bipinnate below in leaflets), upper surface of segments concave and ± bordered, ultimately small, obtuse to subacute; lateral leaflets short petioluled, oblique at base. Subfloral leaves 3-21 mm long. Inflorescence a solitary flower, axillary, ± fulvous pubescent; peduncles 25-75 mm long; bracts 1-2 pairs –lower pair (often lacking) basal, connate, blade c.2 mm long, minutely 3-lobed - upper pair 2.0-7.7 mm long, narrow-oblong to spathulate, entire or shallowly lobed. Male flower 20-30 mm diameter; sepals 5-8, white (slightly green-stained when young), thinly fulvous-silky without, glabrous within, 6-18 × 3.0-10.5 mm, obovate (occasionally elliptic); stamens 20-50, 5-9 mm long, anthers 1.0-1.8 mm long, ovate-oblong, connective produced into minute blunt apiculus; carpels 0. Female flower with slightly smaller sepals; stamens 8-13, anthers barren; carpels 20-50. Achene seed body ovoid, 3-4 mm long, puberulent, brown; style 15-30 mm long, pale fulvous-plumose

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from all other New Zealand Clematis (indigenous or naturalised) by the restriction to marble subalpine to alpine habitats, by tufted suckering shrublet growth habit; non twining petioles; and by the flowers which have pure white or faintly greenish-yellow, obovate-elliptic sepals.



Flower Colours



January - March

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from cuttings and fresh seed. Slow growing and best kept in a deep, well drained pot within an alpine house, except in cooler climates. Does best in lime rich soils.


Apparently confined to only two sites at which it remains vulnerable to animal (goat, deer) browse.

Chromosome No.

2n = 16

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Pappate achenes are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally available from some specialist native plant nurseries. This species has been hybridised with several of the other New Zealand species ot produce a range of cultivars now popular with gardeners are widely available from garden centres. 



Description from Sneddon (1975)

References and further reading

Sneddon, B.V. 1975: A new Clematis from North-west Nelson, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 13: 557-65.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 13 Jun 2014