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Old 06-18-2012, 12:02 PM
Location: Minnesota
48 posts, read 124,353 times
Reputation: 78


I moved into this house in Minnesota in fall 2010 and there was this previously established vine(?) growing on a trellis. It clearly had been established and trained to go up the trellis - there are some old stakes with twist ties around the plant.

It is a very enthusiastic grower, but has never flowered. I think it *might* be a type of Clematis, but all the id sites show flowers, not leaves. I pruned the green things a bit last year and then last fall cut it off about 6 inches from the roof line, but it has re-grown even more enthused than ever.

I took a clipping to a local nursery and they thought it was a weed. But it is clearly deliberately planted.

I didn't get a good picture of the base, but it looks like thicker wood 'ropes' coming out of it, rather than a single branch. It loses all its leaves every winter, but the leaves never turn color or anything.

I would really like to identify it, so I can figure out how to properly prune it.

The old vine is wood and a bunch of new shoots come up that have a green stem. They mostly come off the old wood, but some seem to sprout up a foot or so away from the vines on the ground.

Any idea what this is? Clematis? If so, any guesses on what type?

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Old 06-18-2012, 12:51 PM
Location: Maryland
21 posts, read 62,586 times
Reputation: 18
I don't think you have a Clematis there. The one I had always got lots of flowers on it and the leaves were more slim and feathery.

I had something growing that looked identical to your picture. I thought it might be a Japanese Pieris and I pruned and cared for it carefully for 2 years but it never got flowers. Recently when we were having a tree taken down I asked the trimmer about it and he said it was most likely a weed.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:50 PM
2,063 posts, read 7,729,533 times
Reputation: 2754
That looks like bittersweet, most certainly not clematis. It looks more like American bittersweet in most of the pictures but some of the leave appeared rounder like the invasive form called Oriental Bittersweet. Here is a start for ID on both and you can decide which way to go...

American : American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

Celastrus* scandens: UW-Stevens Point Freckmann Herbarium: Plant Details Page

Oriental: Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:53 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 53,766,574 times
Reputation: 47903
I don't know what it is but I certainly Do Know What It Isn't...not a clematis!
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:05 PM
Location: denison,tx
866 posts, read 1,131,751 times
Reputation: 1537
definitely NOT a clematis...
unfortunately I have no clue what it could be but I do know what
the clematis plants look like and that ain't it...
all my garden books are packed up in storage so I can't help with identification...so sorry
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:04 AM
Location: South Carolina
14,785 posts, read 23,946,607 times
Reputation: 27090
nope not clematis but I would venture to say it is a weed that no one has pulled . LOL .
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:53 PM
Location: Central Midwest
3,401 posts, read 3,071,509 times
Reputation: 13740
I think it's a weed too....it kind of looks like a vine I had and it damaged the trellis and the wood on the windows where it grew. This kind of looks like it....it was Japanese honeysuckle....perhaps yours has quit blooming....mine did bloom and later didn't. But the leaves remind me of my old plant.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:03 PM
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
9,206 posts, read 14,761,111 times
Reputation: 10213
A climbing hydrangea?????
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:49 PM
2,063 posts, read 7,729,533 times
Reputation: 2754
I'm guessing no one actually reads beyond the OP's post.


Most likely American Bittersweet but seeing fruit or blooms would be the only way to be sure based on these pictures. There is a slight chance that this could be a more invasive form of bittersweet, the Oriental Bittersweet. Both have very small inconsequential male and female blooms that are green tinted. It is their location and the way the leaves unfurl that make the ID more positive.

NOT Japanese Honeysuckle which has opposing leaves, not alternating as in the pictures.

NOT a weed even of the "trimmer" says it is. Same goes for the ID from the nursery. Many times nursery help can ID stock they carry and common plants but only a few see more rare vines and can ID them unless they have a personal interest or have a horticultural background.

NOT a climbing Hydrangea which has opposing not alternating leaves as in the picture.
Picture courtesy of Bowood farms:
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:20 PM
Location: Northern Illinois
2,186 posts, read 4,544,809 times
Reputation: 6398
Pull off a few of the leaves and vine and take it to a local nursery. They should be able to identify it and then you can decide if it shall continue to live!!!
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