The white clematis is a deciduous climbing vine native to much of North America, including southern Canada and the western United States. This plant can often be found climbing over trees, shrubs, canyon rock and river banks.
The white clematis typically grows between 4 and 30 feet but can sometimes reach sizes of up to 4,000 feet. Early settlers of the North American continent first called the plant "pepper vine" because of its peppery flavor. It also bears the name of "old man's beard" for its flowers. This vine is widely adapted to fine, medium and coarse soils with a pH between 5.6 and 8.4. It needs between 12 and 20 inches of precipitation, well-drained soil and full sun for best growth. This plant is propagated best through roots, cuttings and seeds and also lends itself to container gardening.
The white clematis blooms during the midsummer, producing showy five-petaled flowers. While the vine and flowers are attractive in gardens, they may be toxic if consumed. The white clematis, like other clematis plants, secretes oils and compounds that irritate the skin and mucous membranes. If ingested, it can cause internal bleeding. However, the plant has been used in small amounts to treat headaches, nervous disordesr, skin infections and other issues.