Clematis hirsutissima var. arizonica

Common Names:
Arizona leatherflower
Growth Habit:
Subshrub, Forb/herb
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Arboretum at Flagstaff

The conservation of Clematis hirsutissima var. arizonica is fully sponsored.
Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


This taxon's standing as a true variety has been called into question, and a morphological study showed that there was no clear difference between this variety (var. arizonica) and the more common variety (var. hirsutissima). (Pringle 1997) However, the U.S. Forest Service lists it as a sensitive species.

Arizona leatherflower is an herbaceous perennial understory species with purple nodding bell-shaped flowers. It is found on limestone outcroppings in ponderosa pine forest. Plants are 20-70 cm high with erect, weak, or trailing stems emerging from a somewhat woody base. Leaves are pinnately compound with 7-13 leaflets. The showy purple flowers are displayed individually at the end of each stem and become heads of golden feathery seeds in late summer.

These plants may be a great indicator of forest health. Their greatest reproduction occurs in intermediate shade with little forest litter. Extremely heavy shade reduces growth and reproduction, but full sun can dry seeds and plants. In the ponderosa pine forest, this species faces threats including timber harvest, controlled thinning and burning, cattle and elk grazing, and development. (Maschinski & Phillips 1993)

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research