Clematis microphylla

Small-leaved Clematis

Family: Ranunculaceae

Clematis microphylla is a vine with fine foliage, growing to about 5 metres long, sometimes dense. 

It is an inland clematis, found in NSW on the southern tablelands and then further west, to as far as the border with South Australia. It grows over most of Victoria and the general south-east of South Australia. It also grows into Queensland to as far north as Emerald and as far west as Augathella.

It is usually found in dry sclerophyll woodland, as well as arid shrublands and heathlands. It can be found growing on a range of soils. 

Clematis spp. can have simple or compound leaves arranged oppositely. In this species, leaves are compound and vary from trifoliolate/ternate to tri-ternate (3 parts with 3 leaflets – (9 leaflets all up)) with each leaflet linear to oblong to narrow-ovate in shape, to 50 mm long and to 13 mm wide, with a blunt apex, mid to dark green in colour.

Clematis spp. have flowers with 4 obvious sepals with absent or minute petals, usually with many stamens. In this species, flowering is August to November, with flowers to 4 cm across, creamy-white to deep cream in colour (4-sepaled flowers, petals are absent). The flowers are either male or female and are borne in panicles. Plants have to outcross with pollen movement most likely facilitated by insects.

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

A nice plant to grow. It is better suited to drier areas and will tolerate heavy frost as well as heat and dry periods. Hardy once established. It could be pruned regularly to create a dense patch or to cover a trellis or other support. 

Very useful for attracting insects. Attractive plant when in flower, as well as for the foliage. 

Check with local native nurseries for availability. 


Propagate from seed or 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.

Very common after fire, regenerating from seed.

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

microphylla – from the Greek, micro (μικρό) meaning “small” and –phylla (φύλλα) meaning “leaves”, referring to the comparitively smaller leaflets of the leaves. 

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

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

Greening Australia – Clematis microphylla factsheet                  https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FACT-SHEET_Clematis-microphylla.pdf

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