TALK ABOUT A CURIOSITY ITEM: The seedheads of certain Clematis certainly qualify as botanical oddballs. Did you ever wonder, as I did today passing by the ripening ones on my Clematis tangutica, just which part in each of those wild wig-hats* is the seed itself?
The British Clematis Society’s seedhead page makes it all very clear, should the thought of propagating vines from seed–or just a deeper desire to understand what is going on outdoors, which is what always gets to me–cross your mind. Follow each of those feathery tails (the strands of silky stuff) down to the base of the puffball, and you’ll usually find the beginning of a seed. Those in the picture aren’t ripe yet, in case you’re wondering. Still too shiny.
(*Or maybe you’re just wondering what a wig-hat is? Don’t ask me; I learned the phrase from Tommy Tucker’s much-covered 1964 Number 1 single. It’s apparently something you wear with “High-Heel Sneakers,” as the tune was titled. My Clematis didn’t read the entire dress code, but I’m pretty sure those are wig-hats on its heads.)