Addison’s Leatherflower

Clematis addisonii


Addison’s Leatherflower, Clematis addisonii, is a threatened species that is native to the Ridge and Valley Province in Virginia. Most of the remaining populations occur here in Montgomery County (Southwest VA). The plant prefers dry, rocky, limestone hillsides, banks and ravines.

Leaves, flowers, and seeds of Addison's Leatherflower
Leaves, flowers, and seeds of Addison’s Leatherflower*

Addison’s Leatherflower is a perennial vine that starts out as an erect plant but eventually arches over or climbs on another plant. The rounded leaves are opposite, and somewhat variable in size and shape. The pinkish purple/to reddish flower usually arises from the tip of the stem. The flower is firm (like leather!) and shaped like an upside-down urn.

These photos were taken in late April and May near Blacksburg, Virginia. Nearby plants included white trillium, skullcap, wild ginger, hepatica, twinleaf, bellwort, false solomon’s seal and golden star.

I definitely went overboard with the number of photos below, but in 2020 I found more Leatherflower in bloom than I’ve ever seen before! I got a bit carried away with my camera!

*Illustration credit:USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols.Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 123.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne J. Campbell says:

    You got it in bloom!

    1. lookclosely says:

      yes, today at Falls Ridge!

  2. Aiyana Bodi says:

    Hi there! I am a student at the College of William & Mary, and I am in a conservation biology class that is working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For our end of the year project, we have been assigned groups and a species found in Virginia that may be in need of listing. My group’s assigned species was Addison’s leather flower. We would love to get in contact with you to ask where you got your information from, and if you have any more! An email or phone number would be great. Thanks so much!

  3. Randy Abbott says:

    I’ve just discovered a colony of Addisons Leatherflowers in Craig County and they are in danger of being mowed, even though they are mostly on state land. I am working to preserve those plants, starting first with the Virginia Endangered Plant and Insect Species program.

  4. Phil Dalton says:

    I know of a couple of locations in Floyd County. One at Mabry’s Mill and one a few miles away. It is a beautiful flower!

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