Friday, April 30, 2021

Pine Hyacinth - Clematis baldwinii


Pine hyacinth (Clematis baldwinii) is the only upright member of this genus in Florida. It is an endemic perennial found throughout much of peninsular Florida in open mesic habitats. Although it grows upright, it does so on very thin stems that reach up to 2 feet tall. These arise from a set of leaves that are deeply dissected and 1-4 inches long. The leaves become linear up the stem. Pine hyacinth dies back to the ground in late fall and reemerges in early spring.

Flowering occurs throughout much of the year - from spring through November. The nodding pale lavender to deep pink blooms are produced on top of the thin stems. Each is 1-2 inches long with 4 distinctly recurved and slightly frilled petals. They are pollinated by bees - especially large-bodied species such as bumblebees. Clusters of decidedly fuzzy seeds ripen several months later.

This is a beloved genus among gardening enthusiasts and luckily this species is sometimes offered commercially by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. It is a species that I try to always have in my nursery - Hawthorn Hill. Seed can take several months to germinate once sown, but can be sped up by first soaking them and removing the outer covering. Though time consuming, the tiny seeds will germinate in about a month. Plant this in a location where it has ample sunlight and where it won't be crowded by other plants. It is adaptable to most soil conditions.  

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