The genus Clematis contains many well-known large flowered cultivars, as well as lesser-known nonvining species. Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) primers were used to fingerprint 32 vining cultivars and five nonvining species (C. fruiticosa, C. integrifolia, C. heracleifolia, C. hexapetala, and C. recta) for use in assessing genetic relationships and cultivar identification. Four ISSR primers yielded a total of 44 bands in the vining accessions, of which 36 (86%) were polymorphic. The average polymorphism levels were 83% for the cultivars and 94% for the nonvining species. All 32 vining cultivars were distinguished with the use of two ISSR primers, and the five nonvining Clematis species were differentiated with three ISSR primers. A similarity matrix of the cultivars showed low similarity levels between the samples, with an average similarity of 0.28. A UPGMA-derived dendrogram showed no strong groupings among any of the samples. Two cultivars with known parentage, Clematis viticella L. `Betty Corning' and `Sylvia Denny', grouped with one reported parent but not the other, suggesting they are more similar to one parent. `Multi-blue', a sport reportedly arising from `The President' did not segregate near `The President'.
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