This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This plant is found in Interglacial beds at Stoke Newington as well as in Palaeolithic deposits. It ranges in Europe, south of Holland, N. Africa, W. Asia, or in the Warm Temperate Zone. In Great Britain it occurs in most districts, being absent from Brecon, Radnor, Montgomery, Merioneth in Wales, and South Lincoln, S.E. Yorks, Cheviotland in England. In the northern counties away from the chalk or oolite it is probably not native, being a southern type. In Scotland it is found only in Lanark, Haddington, Edinburgh, Fife, Perth, Westerness, Main Argyle, and Dumbarton. It is not native in Scotland or Ireland.
The Traveller's Joy, as its name suggests, is a plant of the waysides and hedgerows, along which it was doubtless planted in the past. It is par excellence a lover of the chalky soils of the Downs, where it is seen at its best, forming rambling masses which cover the upright shrubs that grow in similar habitats, the Wayfaring Tree, the White Beam, or it may be the Hazel. In the summer its tangled bowers afford a fine arbour amongst which the birds may nest, and in the winter a shelter from the cold winds and rain. It is adapted to a dry soil and may be regarded as a xerophile. It is essentially a climbing plant, on which account it is much used in gardens, and elsewhere, to form arbours, being called Great Wild Climber.
Its generic name in Latin refers to the tendrils which assist it in its rambling career over hedge and bush. These are highly developed, and very strong and elastic, and are really the leaf-stalks.
Traveller's Joy is best recognized when in fruit, by the long feathery awns or persistent styles which it possesses, assisting in its dispersal. The Clematis habit is marked, the stem is woody, the leaves, which are compound, are arranged on either side of a common leaf-stalk, and there are no stipules or leaflike organs. The flowers are characterized by numerous greenish or sulphur-coloured stamens and styles, 4 white sepals in place of petals. The flowers are sweet and small, but numerous, clustered, hence the name White Vine.
The Wild Clematis is often 20 ft. or more high. Flowers last from July to August or September. The plant is perennial, being a deciduous climbing shrub.
No honey is secreted. In an allied species, C. recta, there is no honey, but insects visit it for pollen. It is proterandrous, that is, the anthers ripen first, and if the stamens had shed all their pollen before the pistil was mature insects would cease to visit the flowers before the stigma became mature. Cross-pollination is performed by Bees (Apidse, Sphegidae), Diptera (Syrphidse, Muscidae).