Clematis glycinoides

Headache Vine

Family: Ranunculaceae

Clematis glycinoides is a medium to large climber, forming stems to 10 metres or more and creating dense groundlayer patches as well as midstorey layers.

It grows commonly in coastal areas of NSW, as well as the tablelands and into the northern and central western slopes. It extends along the Queensland coast to the far north as well as into the general eastern half of Victoria. It is also found on Lord Howe Island. 

It grows in a wide range of habitats, such as dry and wet sclerophyll woodlands, commonly on riparian corridors and inland dry rainforest, as well as frost prone woodlands, usually on heavier soils but can be found on sandy soils.

Clematis spp. can have simple or compound leaves, arranged oppositely. In this species, leaves can be simple but typically compound and trifoliolate (compound with three leaflets) with each leaflet up to 12 cm long by 8 cm wide, mostly entire but can have some toothing, ovate or lanceolate and shiny green.

Clematis spp. have separate male and female flowers which are sometimes on the same plant but often on separate plants (dioecious). Flowers have 4 sepals (which resemble petals), with petals minute or absent. In this species, flowers are 3 to 4 centimetres across, bright white or greenish-white and with 4 large sepals creating an overall star or cross-shape. They cover plants in spring and can be profuse.

The fruits are achenes (a fruit type common in the unrelated daisy family, with a very thin coat) and are produced in fluffy-like heads (somewhat resembling a dandelion head) as each achene has a plume-like attachment of hairs.

In the garden

Clematis glycinoides is a ‘double-barrelled’ plant because both flowers are fruits are decorative features.

It is a useful climber that could be used to cover the framework of a fernery. It can be used to cover an open fence or trellis. It can be vigorous and untidy but careful pruning works well to keep it in check. Creates excellent habitat for insects.

The growth is very dense and provides safe nesting sites for small native birds.

Very hardy once established.


Propagate from seed and stem cuttings.

Other information

Clematis is a large genus of woody climbers with about 300 species worldwide. Australia has about 10 native species. NSW currently has 8 species.

This species is very similar to C. aristata but has leaves with more entire margins and generally shorter flower-sepals; as well as growing in drier habitats.

Very common after fire, regenerating from seed. Seedlings have strongly variegated leaves.

Clematis – from the Ancient Greek klimatatis (κληματιτής), derived from klima, meaning a “vine” or “branched vine”.

glycinoides – Latin, resembling the pea-genus Glycine – due to the trifoliolate leaves. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Clematis glycinoides profile page    https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Clematis~glycinoides

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Plants of South Eastern NSW – Clematis glycinoides profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/clematis_glycinoides.htm

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.