Old Man's Beard

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Plantae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Clematis Clematis ligusticifolia

  • Plant Type: Perennial, Deciduous Vine.
  • Common Names: Old-Man’s Beard, Native White Clematis, Western White Clematis, Pepper vine, Hierba De Chivo.
  • Color: Creamy-white
  • Flower Dimensions: 1 inch in width.
  • Blooming Seasons/ Month: Mid-spring to late summer (April-August).
  • Desert with Old-Man’s Beard: Okanaga, Mojave and Sonoran.

Old-Man’s Beard Flower Characteristics

Old Man's Beard

Clematis ligusticifolia is woody or semi-woody climber from the Ranunculaceae family. This desert flowering plant can grow up to 20 feet or more.

  • Clematis ligusticifolia is a widely-adaptable plant. This species is drought-tolerant and has excellent resistance to diseases.
  • The Old Man’s Beard leaves are pinnately compound. The leaves consist of 5-7 leaflets.
  • The plant has multiple stems that arise from a central clump. These stems can arise up to 15 meters in length.
  • The inflorescence of the Old-Man’s Beard involves several- to many-flowered.
  • The Old Man’s Beard flowers are broad clusters of blossoms from the upper portion of the plant’s leaf axils. The flowers are showy and fragrant.

Clematis Ligusticifolia

Old Man’s Beard Facts

  • All parts of the plant can cause severe irritation[1] in the mouth if eaten. In addition, the plant can cause irritation even if inhaled.
  • In the past, the leaves of Clematisare thought to heal leprosy[2]. In addition, the native North American Indian tribes used the plant to treat sores[3].
  • Clematis ligusticifolia is called the Old Man’s Beard because the plant has long feathery seed heads.
  • The hollow stems of the Clematis plant were once used by young boys for smoking as a pastime. Clematis ligusticifolia is also called “Pepper vine” because the seeds and the leaves were used as a substitute for pepper.
  • Clematis is a Greek word that means “several climbing plants, and ligusticifolia is a Latin word that means Privet-like leaves”. The genus name was given by Linnaeus in 1753, and the species name was given by Thomas Nuttal in 1838.

Suggested Reading: Flower Species

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BioExplorer.net. (2022, October 02). Old-Man’s Beard. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/old-mans-beard/.
BioExplorer.net. "Old-Man’s Beard" Bio Explorer, 02 October 2022, https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/old-mans-beard/.
BioExplorer.net. "Old-Man’s Beard" Bio Explorer, October 02 2022. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/old-mans-beard/.
Key References
  • [1]“Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – The University of Texas at Austin”. Accessed September 13, 2022. Link.
  • [2]“Clematis”. Accessed September 13, 2022. Link.
  • [3]“Clematis ligusticifolia White Clematis, Western white clematis, California clematis, PFAF Plant Database”. Accessed September 13, 2022. Link.

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