“Star of India” Clematis
The clematis flowers are members of the Ranunculaceae family, which also includes the buttercups and the Acontium (wolfsbane or monk’s bane) genus. There are hundreds of species, and over a thousand cultivars of Clematus spp.
Found in European gardens (by way of the Japanese) by the 18th century, and in the United States since the mid-19th century, clematis flowers are hardy and perennial, but solely ornamental. Despite having a “pepper-like” taste, the seeds, sap, and everything else from the plant, is highly toxic, causing intense abdominal pain and intestinal bleeding when consumed.
The Floral World and Garden Guide. Edited by Shirley Hibbard, Esq., 1871.