Clematis ‘Odoriba’

Clematis 'Odoriba'

I am pleased to report after growing it for several years in my garden that Clematis ‘Odoriba’ is a very trustworthy clematis.  Year after year it has rewarded me with dependable crops of flowers.  This pink and white bell-shaped clematis looks fabulous growing alone or combined with other clematis.  It will be happy being grown in a large container or planted in the ground.  The nodding flower’s tepals are colored a bright cherry-pink with white bars.  Its stamens are yellowish.  The flower is 1” to 1½” in diameter and has 4 recurved tepals.  Growing to a height of 6 to 9 feet, it can thrive equally in sunny or shady locations.  It grows in USDA Zones 4 through 11.

There is some confusion concerning which group this little cutie belongs to.  Some say it is a Texensis, but Wim Snoeijer, a renowned Dutch clematarian, has classified it as a Viticella.  If you have any doubts, you will be to happily discover that it is NOT plagued with getting mildew that the Texensis Group can often be prone to.  Another tell-tale sign is that the flowers face downward, not upward, as does ‘Duchess of Albany’.

Clematis 'Odoriba' and Rosa 'Winifred Coulter'

Clematis ‘Odoriba’ was cultivated in Japan by Mr. Kazushige Ozawa in 1990.  This delightful hybrid is the result of crossing two American species, C. viorna and C. crispa.  

This is such a lovely little clematis, so I wondered what the Japanese word "odoriba" means.  I found the following definitions:  Originally it referred to “a staircase landing where people can take a brief rest and often is used as an analogy to describe a temporary lull during an overall economic recovery.”  The second, which is just a tiny bit more of a romantic definition, is “the wide corridor next to the staircase on the first floor known as a dancing place.  Geisha dancers use this space as a dance stage, which guests can view by opening the sliding doors of the guest room.”  One rather novel meaning is “Back in the pre-Disco day, these places were called "odoriba" (Japanese for "dance hall") or "go-go clubs," and about 70% of them were only equipped with juke boxes.”  But the best of all I think is “The slightly enlarged flat surface in the middle of a flight of stairs, called a "landing" in English, has the interesting name of 'odoriba', "dance place", in Japanese.”

I admit I am mystified why a flower would be named after a dance place, dance floor or landing, but I am sure that something has been lost in its translation into English.  I am just going to pretend to myself that it means little bells that like to dance in the wind.

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