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What Is the Meaning of the Clematis?

By Darla Himeles ; Updated July 21, 2017
The clematis blooms colorful, showy flowers.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Olivier

The clematis is a flowering, climbing plant grown for ornamental purposes. The clematis has a few different meanings, many of them connected to mental prowess.

Symbolic Meaning

The clematis symbolizes ingenuity or artifice, perhaps due to its seemingly clever climbing around trellises and walls. The clematis also means mental beauty.


Clematis is sometimes given as a female name in English-speaking regions. Clematis means flowering vine or branch in this context.


Clematis comes from the Greek work “klema,” which means “twig,” “shoot,” “branch” or “to break off.”

Other Languages

The words used for clematis in Russian and Bulgarian carry the additional meaning of “traveler’s joy,” which is not surprising since clematis travels as it climbs.


Clematis is pronounced kleh-MAT-is. If you want to meaningfully compliment someone by writing him a poem comparing him to a clematis, note that mantis, practice and solstice rhyme with clematis.


About the Author


Darla Himeles is a freelance writer, editor and poet living in Castine, Maine. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College's English and education programs and a current student in Drew University’s MFA in poetry and poetry in translation program, Himeles writes frequently about education, wellness, writing and literature.