Clematis glycinoides

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Headache vine
Headache Vine - Clematis glycinoides (7890960862).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Clematis
Species: C. glycinoides
Binomial name
Clematis glycinoides

Clematis stenosepala R.Br. ex DC.

Clematis glycinoides, commonly known as headache vine, is a climbing shrub of the family Ranunculaceae, found in eastern Australia,[1] and New Caledonia.[2]


Augustin Pyramus de Candolle described the species in 1817, from a specimen from the herbarium of Sir Joseph Banks.[3] The species gains its common name from a folk use as a supposed remedy for headaches. The aroma from the crushed leaves is inhaled, appearing to relieve headaches as a result of the highly irritant properties of the resulting fumes. This process was explained by herbalist Cheryll Williams:

The uncomfortable sensation of breathing in the ammonia-like fumes has been described as "the head 'exploding', the eyes 'watering' and intense irritation of the nasal passages" – such that the initial headache was quickly forgotten.[4][5]

Two varieties are recognised—C. glycinoides glycinoides and C. glycinoides submutica.[1]


Clematis glycinoides is a woody-stemmed vine that can reach 15 m (49 ft) long,[6] with simple lanceolate (spear-shaped) to oblong leaves that are 1.5–12 cm (0.59–4.72 in) long by 1–8 cm (0.39–3.15 in) wide. The cream-white flowers appear from July to December, although these are most abundant in September.[7] The species is dioecious: the plants have either male or female flowers. The seedheads have several feathery 'tails' up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) long.[8]


C. glycinoides is found in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. It grows in woodland, forests and rainforests,[1] on basalt, limestone, shale or sandstone soils with good drainage. Open forest species that it grows under include grey myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia), grey ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata) and manna gum (E. viminalis), as well as floodplain forest trees such as cabbage gum (Eucalyptus amplifolia) and broad-leaved apple (Angophora subvelutina).[7]

Honeybees visit the flowers.[7]

C. glycinoides is possibly not as vigorous as other Clematis in cultivation, and requires moist conditions to do well. Its white flowers are considered to be an attractive feature.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Briggs, Barbara G.; Makinson, Robert O. (Bob) (1990). "Clematis glycinoides DC". Plantnet – New South Wales Flora Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Low, Tim (2014). "New Caledonia: Australia's special neighbour". Wildlife Australia. pp. 18–22. ISSN 0043-5481. 
  3. ^ de Candolle, Augustin Pyramus (1817). Regni Vegetabilis Systema Naturale. 1. Paris, France: Treuttel et Würtz. pp. 145–46. 
  4. ^ Sultanbawa; Yasmina & Fazal (2016). Australian Native Plants: Cultivation and Uses in the Health and Food Industries. CRC Press. p. 180. ISBN 9781482257151. 
  5. ^ Williams, Cheryll (2013), Medicinal Plants in Australia, Volume 4: An Antipodean Apothecary, Rosenberg Publishing, p. 110, ISBN 9781925078084 
  6. ^ "Clematis glycinoides". Morwell National Park Online. Morwell National Park. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Benson, Doug; McDougall, Lyn (2000). "Ecology of Sydney Plant Species Part 7b: Dicotyledon families Proteaceae to Rubiaceae" (PDF). Cunninghamia. 6 (4): 1017–1202 [1131]. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-06-27. 
  8. ^ "Clematis glycinoides". Yarra Ranges Local Plant Directory. Yarra Ranges Shire Council. 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Elliot Rodger W.; Jones, David L.; Blake, Trevor (1984). Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation:Volume 3 – Ce-Er. Port Melbourne: Lothian Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-85091-167-2.