Vascular – Native
Lianes & Related Trailing Plants - Dicotyledons
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.
2n = 16
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Strongly sweet-scented liane with greenish-yellow flowers and 3 heart-shaped leaflets per leaf (juveniles with 9 leaflets per leaf). The species name is a misnomer, in that the flowers are sweetly perfumed, not ‘foetid’.
Endemic. North and South Island. All except Taranaki in north, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and eastern Otago in south.
lowland forests and especially forest margins.
Evergreen woody climber with main stems to 6 m or more tall; trunk to 6 cm diam. at base; branchlets grooved, densely fulvous tomentose when young. Leaves 3-foliate (9 leaflets in juvenile plants), opposite; petioles c. 1.5-5(-9) cm long, stout, pilose-pubescent. Leaflets pubescent-pilose with fulvous hairs especially beneath, eventually becoming glabrate; on petiolules c. 5-10 mm long; midvein and secondary veins visible above, more obvious below; leaflet lamina (2.3-)5.5-9 x (1.8-)4.5-8(-12) cm, ovate, entire to sinuate, rarely crenately serrate or lobed, subcoriaceous, dark green, tip acute to obtuse, base truncate to subcordate, undersides paler. Subfloral leaves smaller. Juvenile leaves larger, thinner, irregularly lobed and sometimes serrate. Inflorescences unisexual, conspicuous, in axillary dichasial cymes, few-flowered, up to 8 cm long, inflorescence bracts ovate, acute to acuminate, paired, united, inserted above middle of peduncle. Flowers strongly scented. Male to 2.5 cm diam., sepals (5-)-6(-8), ovate-oblong, obtuse to subacute, imbricate, glabrous above, hairy beneath, 6-12(-23) x 2-5(-7) mm, yellow; stamens many, anthers 0.8-1.5 mm long, filaments glabrous., up to 1 cm long. Female 5-8 sepals, imbricate, yellow, glabrous above, pilose beneath, ovate, obtuse, 6-11 x 3-5 mm; staminodes few. Achenes hairy, elliptic, narrowed to apex, compressed, margin thickened and distinct, surface unornamented, (2.0-)2.2-3.0(-3.3) mm long, styles 15-28 cm long at fruiting, white-plumose for most of length, short hairs at base.
Similar to other climbing yellow-or green-flowered clematis species that have large leaves. It can be distinguished most easily from C. cunninghamii by the weaker smell of that species (and also by the downy rather than hairy sepals and petals). From C. forsteri it can be distinguished by its young growing stems clad in yellow-brown hairs (glabrous in C. forsteri). C. forsteri has young leaves that are either glabrous underneath, or occ. with white (rather than brownish) hairs (the anthers are also larger in this species). The bipinnate juvenile leaves result in 9 leaflets per leaf in C. foetida whereas even seedling leaves of C. forsteri have 3 leaflets.
Pappate achenes are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
clematis: From the Greek klema ‘vine’, alluding to the vine-like habit of many species
Description adapted from: Allan (1961), Webb et al. (1988), Eagle (2000), Webb and Simpson (2001); also members’ field experiences.
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington.
Eagle, A. 2000: Eagle’s complete trees and shrubs of NZ. Te Papa Press, Wellington.
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.
Webb, C.J; Sykes, W.R; Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1988: Flora of NZ, Volume IV. DSIR, Christchurch.
Webb, C.J. & Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.