A trailing and partly climbing vine. Leaves: trifoliolate; leaflets thin, ovate, acute, more or less cordate, slightly toothed or entire; petioles slender. Flowers: solitary; sepals thin and translucent, strongly veined, silky along the margins and the veins; petals spatulate; styles persistent, plumose throughout.

The large lovely flowers of the Purple Clematis are attractive by reason of their four or five big purple-blue sepals, for their petals are very small and inconspicuous, surrounding the numerous yellow stamens. When in fruit this plant is also interesting, as the fine feathery styles form silvery heads, the long plumes of which are delicately entwined.

Its slender leaf-stalks are the means by which the Clematis climbs and clings to bushes, trees, and rocks, festooning with graceful garlands everything that comes in its way and delighting the traveller's eye with its wide-spread, semi-transparent, prominently veined flowers. The leaves are formed of three small, deeply veined leaflets, which grow on slim, rather woody stems.

This plant is a constant ornament to the alpine woods during the summer months, for when its true flowering season is past the pretty green foliage and large tufts of feathery seeds still render it an object of admiration.