A deciduous climber up to 25 ft high, with angled, downy stems. Leaves pinnate, 6 to 9 in. long, consisting of usually seven or nine leaflets. Leaflets broadly ovate, pointed, heart-shaped at the base, often three-lobed, coarsely toothed; 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, about two-thirds as wide; more or less downy above, clothed with silky down and conspicuously veined beneath; stalk of leaflets 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, hairy. Flowers mostly nodding, fragrant like cowslips; borne on erect, downy, ribbed panicles 5 to 9 in. high from August to October. The four sepals are of a soft primrose yellow, ribbed, and form a bell-shaped perianth 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long; their points are recurved, and they are velvety outside, glabrous within; stamens about as long as the sepals, thinly hairy their whole length. Seed-vessels orbicular-ovoid, downy, terminated by a silky style 1 in. long.
Native of W. China; introduced to France, in 1898, by Père Aubert from near Tatsien-lu, thence to Kew in 1904. Wilson introduced it from the same neighbourhood in 1908. It is one of the latest flowering clematises and is worthy of cultivation on that account, also for the sweet fragrance of its pretty blossoms. Its naming has been much confused. When first introduced it was called C. buchaniana by the French; then it was identified with C. nutans. Both these species are Himalayan, and probably not in cultivation. (For a fuller history of this species see the article by B. O. Mulligan in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 64, 1939, pp. 191-2.)
C. veitchiana Craib, hitherto confused with the above under the name “C. nutans”, differs in a number of characters. Its most noticeable distinction is in the leaves being doubly pinnate; the two or three lower primary divisions are usually trifoliolate. The leaflets, in consequence, are smaller and more numerous – often over twenty. Another distinction is that the bracts on the inflorescence are very small (1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long) and awl-shaped, whereas in C. rehderiana they are much larger (5⁄8 to 3⁄4 in. long), ovate or oval, sometimes deeply three-lobed. The flowers are rather smaller, but of the same shape and colour. Introduced from W. China by Wilson in 1904.