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Yellow clematis (Clematis tangutica) is a perennial vine native to the high mountains of China and India. It spreads both by seed and vegetatively through stem pieces. It may be mistaken for a very similar yellow-flowered clematis called Clematis tibetana with whom it will cross-breed.
Stems can grow 3-4m long, green and supple when young but becoming woody with age.
Leaves have 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets with coarsely toothed edges. They may be slightly hairy on the underside.
As its name suggests, yellow clematis bears bright yellow, nodding flowers with four petals. The plants will flower continuously from midsummer through to late fall. As the flowers mature, they brown off and develop into distinctive silky tufted seedheads.
As a mountain plant, yellow clematis tolerates cold, drought, nutrient-poor soil and partial shade. Given the chance, it quickly drapes its vines over anything it can reach, including buildings, trees and vehicles.
Yellow clematis is extremely invasive; its ability to regrow from broken stem pieces makes it virtually impossible to eradicate once established. Also, it may cover trees and shrubs so completely that it will prevent them receiving adequate sunlight.
Yellow clematis is widely distributed by the nursery trade as an ornamental. To be safe, do not plant any yellow-flowering clematis. This weed may also be sold under numerous other common names, such as Golden Clematis, Virgins-Bower, Radar Love, or Helios.
Mowing and cultivation only help spread yellow clematis, since every broken stem piece can resprout into a new plant. If hand-pulling, ensure you bag all plant pieces and seeds so as not to spread them further.
In urban or homeowner situations, yellow clematis is best eradicated through physical removal and disposal of all plant parts, not by chemical application. Most effective herbicides are available only to certified applicators for use on public lands.
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