Updated: Nov 3
This week’s Wildflower Wednesday feature flower is Virgin’s Bower.
Virgin’s Bowler is a native vine that is also known as Old Man’s Beard, Devil’s Darning Needle, Devil’s Hair, Love Vine, Traveler’s Joy and Prairie Smoke on a Rope. It blooms from July to September.
It’s an aggressive grower that can grow to twenty feet or more in height and provides good bird and wildlife habitat.
Virgin’s Bower is often confused with Sweet Autumn Clematis which is an invasive species. The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at the leaves. Virgin’s Bower leaves have jagged edges, the leaves of the invasive Sweet Autumn Clematis are smooth.
Virgin's Bower is dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate plants. Flowering occurs regardless of gender, but only the female produces seeds. Long, feathery strands are attached to the seedheads which help the seeds travel in the wind.
Native Americans used it to treat backache, stomach, kidney trouble and to treat venereal disease, as well as using it in ceremonial medicine to induce dreaming.
It is moderately poisonous to humans and touching it can cause a skin reaction in some people.