I'm a newbie as well, and my knowledge on this subject is based only on
observations of my own Jackmanii. The first year I planted my vine, I
only had 4 petal flowers. Now in the vine's 3'rd year, it has produced
both 4 petal, and 5 petal flowers ( and it has grown tremendously since
it's first year as one scraggly looking vine, each year it comes back
MUCH fuller than before. When I first adopted my clematis I thought
maybe I would need to buy more than one plant for it to fill out the way
I had hoped...ha ha). So, my very unscientific guess would be that
age/maturity has a factor in the size of the flower/number of petals.
There is a slight relationship, but only through distant parentage. Jackmanii,
the first of the large flowering hybrids and pretty much the source of all the
LFH clematis currently available, was hybridized in 1858 by George Jackman
from Clematis laguinosa and a viticella, 'Atrorubens'. 'Polish Spirit' is
considered a small flowered clematis, not a LFH, and is listed by the
International and American Clematis Societies as a viticella hybrid, its exact
The number of tepals on most clematis is variable, ranging in number from 4-6,
sometimes as many as 8. You will often find flowers with varied numbers of
tepals growing on the same plant. It has nothing to do with size or maturity,
just an idiosyncracy of the plant.
pam - gardengal
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