Clematis fremontii

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Fremont's leather flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Central United States
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purple to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, rocky to sandy loams in full sun to part shade. Tolerates moderately dry soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Clematis fremontii is a non-climbing, Missouri native clematis which occurs on limestone glades in the eastern Ozark region of the state (Steyermark). It is also native limestone prairies in Kansas and Nebraska. This is the only shrubby-type clematis that is native to Missouri. It is an erect-stemmed plant which typically grows to 12-18" tall and features alternate, simple, sessile, broad-ovate, leathery green leaves (to 5" long) with parallel veins. Forms dense foliage clumps over time. Foliage is topped with solitary, narrow, purple to white, bell-shaped flowers often with recurved sepals, each flower nodding at the end of its own slender stalk. Flowers give way to attractive seed heads. Blooms in May-June.

Genus name comes from the Greek word klematis which is an old name applied to climbing plants.

Specific epithet honors after John C. Fremont, the 19th century American explorer who first discovered the plant, and is sometimes commonly called Fremont's leather flower.


Clematis wilt is a potentially fatal fungal disease that can affect any clematis, but large-flowered, hybrid varieties are the most susceptible. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust and viruses can also be problematic. Potential insect pests include aphids, vine weevils, slugs/snails, scale and earwigs. Watch for spider mites.


Best massed or in large groups. Rock gardens, border fronts, native plant gardens, prairies or meadows.