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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

19 October, 2009

Traveller's Joy (Clematis vitalba)

Traveller's Joy is also known as Old Man's Beard (for obvious reasons) and also Wild Clematis. You may encounter any one of these names as they are all applied to this vigorous climbing plant. Most field guides seem to favour Traveller's Joy although I am not sure why when the other two seem more appropriate to me!

The hedgerows of Dorset are full of this stuff, it can be found anywhere on chalk and limestone soils and where it occurs it can be abundant.

The Traveller's Joy is a double win for our wildlife population as the lovely little cream flowers come out in mid-summer and are a popular nector source. Then, in autumn, these massed seed heads appear and so our seed eating birds take their turn.

It is certainly one of our more scruffy plants but it really is lovely where ever it occurs and in both of its states.