Clematis 'Vancouver™ Fragrant Star'

Clematis of the Month for December 2019

described by Linda Beutler

C. Vancouver™ Fragrant Star©Linda Beutler

It may surprise you that I am going on the record in praise of a newer white large-flowered clematis. We have more than enough of them—certainly this writer has made that case in other forums—but to quote Jane Austen, "...In cases such as these, a good memory is unpardonable." This is a flower of great substance and charm, certainly worth adding to the pantheon of elegant whites. And it is fragrant, usually described as having a sweet vanilla perfume. To my nose, the scent is much like that of C. 'Fair Rosamond', the extant relic of a breeding program from the early 1870s. The parents of Vancouver™ Fragrant Star are C. 'Souvenir du Capitaine Thuilleaux' × C. 'Blue Ravine' and of the two, only the first might have a distant relation to the 40 years older Jackman-bred scented large-flowered hybrids.

C. Vancouver™ Fragrant Star©Linda Beutler Fred Wein Sr has retired from the day-to-day operations of Clearview Horticultural Products of Aldergrove BC, Canada, and now is devoting himself to creating a showy line of new large-flowered cultivars, fragrant where possible, with the Vancouver trademark. One can be confused by this trademark, which has been, according to the International Clematis Checklist and Register, variously found within single cultivar quotation marks without the trademark symbol (as 'Vancouver Fragrant Star'), in the Monrovia Nursery list inside the cultivar name but with the symbol after Vancouver (as 'Vancouver™ Fragrant Star'), and in some cases within the brand the designation Vancouver™ is left off entirely ('Mystic Gem' is unbranded in the Register). However, on the Clearview website, Vancouver™ appears as a prefix before the cultivar names (which do not have their single quotes, as I've titled this article). This may all have to do with how one expresses plant breeders' rights or a plant patent according to Canadian law. For the purposes of this article, I'm following their catalog example, since that is how they seem to want the plant to be known commercially, but in the USA a trademark brand would not be included in the cultivar name, meaning it would be outside the single quotes (as Vancouver™ 'Fragrant Star'). But enough of that.

The other more minor confusion is the description of the stamens, which are described as red on the Clearview website. The stamens are not red. The anthers are reddish (more purplish in person). It says in the Register, "blue-purple". However, stamens contain a filament and the anthers, and the filaments are white.

The tepals are immaculately white, shining more so for the contrast of those dark anthers, with palpable substance adding to the longevity and durability of each blossom. "Clematis-on-the-Web" shows flowers heavily shaded in green, as if the plant were having a reaction to early season cold as it opened. This is a purely situational occurrence, and in a warm spring and summer you won't see this unripe look. The timing of the first wave of bloom is dependent upon when and how much one prunes over the winter, but early June is the likely starting point if one has done a late winter sheering by half the plant's usual 2 to 2.5 meters in height. Subsequent flowering throughout the growing season depends on how or if one deadheads the spent blooms, and if a midsummer fertilizer is applied.

C. Vancouver™ Fragrant Star is similar in blossom size and bountiful floral show to the USA version of C. 'Starfish'—with equal pristine whiteness and density of tepal substance, but the nose knows the difference when they are encountered together in an unlabeled display.

Linda Beutler Linda Beutler

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