Clematis forsteri


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

Common Name(s)

Forster's clematis

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Clematis forsteri J.F.Gmel.



Brief Description

Cream-flowered vine with variable shaped leaflets in threes

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


Clematis australis var. rutifolia (Hook.f.) Allan; Clematis hexasepala var. rutifolia Hook.f.; Clematis colensoi Hook.f.; Clematis colensoi var. rutifolia (Hook.f.) Hook.f.; Clematis hexapetala L.f.; Clematis hexasepala DC.; Clematis australis Kirk


Endemic. North and South Islands. From Auckland area south to northern Westland and Canterbury


Lowland forest and forest margins, especially forest margins, open spaces and streamsides


Variable evergreen woody climber; stems to 5 m long, 5-10 mm diam. at base; branchlets grooved, sparsely hairy when young, becoming glabrous. Leaves 3-foliate, opposite, 3-10(-16) x (3-)4-8(-14) cm; petioles (1-)2-5(-7) cm long, stout, glabrous. Leaflets 14-55 x 9-28, simple to pinnate, simple leaflets lanceolate to deltoid, margins crenate, serrate or deeply pinnatifid to bipinnatifid, apices apiculate, base attenuate to truncate, petiolules 10-60 mm long, grooved, twining, glabrous or sparsely hairy, hairs white, becoming glabrate; midvein and secondary veins visible above, more obvious below; lamina thin to coriaceous, dark green to grey-green, tip acute, base truncate to subcordate, undersides paler. Juvenile leaves larger, thinner. Inflorescences unisexual, conspicuous, of solitary or 2-10-flowered clustered in leaf axils or in dichasial cymes of 5-10 flowers; pedicels 25-95 mm long moderately to densely hairy; inflorescence bracts 3-13(-18) x 1-4(-8), linear to elliptic, acute to obtuse, paired, united, inserted about middle of pedicel, glabrous to moderately hairy. Flowers spicey scented. Male to 4 cm diam., sepals 5-6, narrowly to broadly elliptic, lanceolate or ovate, imbricate, glabrous or sparsely silky hairy above (rarely glabrous above), silky hairy to hairy beneath, 10-25 x 3-13 mm, cream, base often flushed red-brown; stamens 20-37, anthers 2.4-3.5 mm long, filaments glabrous., 3-11 mm long. Female sepals 5-6(-7), similar to male, 13-25 x 3.8-7 mm; Carpels 35-48; staminodes 1-6. Achenes hairy, elliptic, or rarely narrowly elliptic, narrowed to apex, compressed, margin thickened and distinct, surface unornamented or occ. ridged, (2.6-)3.0-4.5(-5.1) mm long, styles (15-)20-35(-40) cm long at fruiting, white-plumose for most of length, glabrous or with short hairs at base.

Similar Taxa

Similar to the white larger-flowered C. paniculata. Also similar to both C. foetida and C. cunninghamii both of which have brownish hairs on young leaves and elsewhere. Closest to C. petriei from which it can be distinguished by the yellow-green evenly coloured and near-glabrous above sepals and the narrower more pointed floral bracts.



Flower Colours





Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 16

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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



Fact hseet by M.J. Thorsen: Description adapted from Heenan and Cartman (2000)

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B; Cartman, J. 2000. Reinstatement of Clematis petriei (Ranunculaceae), and typification and variation of C. forsteri. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38: 575-585.

Adams, N.M. 1951. Clematis hexasepala. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 51: 23

Anonymous. 1950. Clematis colensoi. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 23: 23

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 28 Oct 2014