Leatherflower,  Clematis viorna
Ranunculaceae or Buttercup Family

Flowers Climbing, sprawling vine with leaves having 3-7 leaflets.  The leaflets are sometimes lobed or divided into sub-leaflets.  Flowers born singly, nodding, red-purple, with very thick "petals" (actually sepals).  Fruit a cluster of seeds with long, curving, feathery tails , symmetrical when young, rather untidy when mature in autumn.  Blooms in spring to early summer.

Likes open, rich woods.  In Wildwood, very common along Wildwood Drive at the edge of the bluffs under the powerline. 

Leatherflowers are easily recognized by their nodding flowers with thick sepals.  There are three rare, endangered leatherflowers in western Virginia and West Virginia, but none of them have been reported in Wildwood.  Virgin's Bower (C. virginiana) is a relative with similar fruits, and somewhat similar, although coarsely toothed, leaves, but it has very different flowers.

More Information 

Early fruits

Mature fruits