The Clematis Pronunciation Debate

By grannysgarden
June 10, 2015

Since this is Celebrating Clematis Week, I thought I would pose a question to all regions that grow and love the plant. How do you pronounce the word "clematis"?

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Jun 9, 2015 6:31 PM CST
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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At the risk of appearing "non-intellectually correct" I vote #2. Nobody talks the way of #1 around here. But if I ever run across somebody who does I'll probably know what he/she is describing. Smiling
Even a fool, when he shuts his mouth, is counted (as being) wise.Proverbs 17:28
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Jun 9, 2015 7:12 PM CST
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
I agree
wildflowersoftexas.com



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Jun 9, 2015 7:29 PM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
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#2
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
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Jun 9, 2015 7:32 PM CST
Name: Catmint/Robin
PNW WA half hour south of Olym (Zone 8a)
Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
Echinacea Azaleas Forum moderator Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
for the #2 Kle-MAT-is pronunciation, does the MAT part rhyme with cat or with caught?

thanks!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
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Jun 9, 2015 7:33 PM CST
Plants Admin
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Region: Ukraine Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis
Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level
I agree. Kle-MAT-is is the most common pronunciation around here, and it's the one I use. I suppose KLEM-uh-tis is the "correct" pronunciation, according to most dictionaries, but it doesn't sound right to me. I've also heard it pronounced KLEE-muh-tis, Kle-MAY-tis, and Kle-MAH-tis.

I was amused by the Cambridge Dictionary site's audio pronunciations of the word in British English and American English. The pronunciation is virtually the same, but the English speaker sounds cheery and chipper, while the American speaker sounds depressed and dull. Hilarious!

http://dictionary.cambridge.or...
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Jun 9, 2015 7:33 PM CST
Plants Admin
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Region: Ukraine Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis
Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level
In my case, the "mat" rhymes with cat.
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Jun 9, 2015 7:36 PM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
Me, too.
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
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Jun 9, 2015 7:42 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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My Mother and I used to quarrel about this...........We said Mat like Cat and then I heard the other pronounciation on Victory Garden which I started to use.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Last edited by Paul2032 Jun 9, 2015 7:47 PM Icon for preview
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Jun 9, 2015 7:43 PM CST
Name: Catmint/Robin
PNW WA half hour south of Olym (Zone 8a)
Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
Echinacea Azaleas Forum moderator Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Thank you! Smiling
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
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Jun 9, 2015 7:46 PM CST
Name: Kyla Houbolt
Gastonia, NC (Zone 7b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
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I grew up using pronunciation #1, accent on the first syllable, and then was told authoritatively on another garden forum ( Whistling ) that that was definitely wrong, and accent on second syllable (pronunciation #2) was the Only Right Way.

Now I can't get the word out of my mouth because every time I try to say it I think I'm about to say it wrong.

Rolling on the floor laughing
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Jun 9, 2015 7:47 PM CST
Name: Catmint/Robin
PNW WA half hour south of Olym (Zone 8a)
Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
Echinacea Azaleas Forum moderator Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Paul2032 said:My Mother and I used to quarrel about this...........


Hilarious!
Reminds me of Agastache. I heard so many variations of this locally, with the staff at every nursery having a different favored pronunciation. In Nursery B I mistakenly used the preferred pronunciation of Nursery A, and was summarily corrected by the staff person: 'well, I'm telling you the *right* pronunciation!' Whistling I'm actually afraid to say the word out loud now... Big Grin
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
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Jun 9, 2015 7:48 PM CST
Plants Admin
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Region: Ukraine Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis
Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level
The Only Right Way? How rude! On our site, you get a choice. Big Grin
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Jun 9, 2015 7:53 PM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Which one did you prefer Paul? Thanks Leon from Indiana, Jay and Debra from Texas and Catmint from Maryland. Thanks Zuzu from N. California and Paul from Utah. So far, though Paul has not yet voted, the second pronunciation is the preferred one. Anyone from the east coast care to chime in here? It would be interesting also to hear from other places.

Catmint, Zuzu is correct, mat rhymes with cat in this instance.
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
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Jun 9, 2015 7:54 PM CST
Plants Admin
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Region: Ukraine Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis
Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level
I hate the correct pronunciations of Agastache (uh-GAS-tuh-kee, or A-gus-TACK-ee). I think a-gus-TASH (the incorrect pronunciation) sounds sophisticated and interesting.
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Jun 9, 2015 7:57 PM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Absolutely you get a choice...... and no one will correct you here. But I agree that saying it aloud in other gardeners presence gives one pause. I have been told that #1 is preferred in England.
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Image
Jun 9, 2015 8:11 PM CST
Name: Catmint/Robin
PNW WA half hour south of Olym (Zone 8a)
Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
Echinacea Azaleas Forum moderator Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
thanks, all.
I think CLEM-a-tis is preferred here in the DC area--it's definitely what I hear others say, pretty consistently.

Zuzu, I like a-gus-TASH and dislike both the correct pronunciations as well!
a-gus-TASH sounds like I'm touring the local art museum--'and here we have a *lovely* painting of a-gus-TASH; notice the artist's brilliant colors and insouciant style'.
The other two make me think of trudging across a patch of stickers 'ahhh the STACKIES'.
nodding
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Image
Jun 9, 2015 8:14 PM CST
Name: Kyla Houbolt
Gastonia, NC (Zone 7b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
grannysgarden said:Which one did you prefer Paul? Thanks Leon from Indiana, Jay and Debra from Texas and Catmint from Maryland. Thanks Zuzu from N. California and Paul from Utah. So far, though Paul has not yet voted, the second pronunciation is the preferred one. Anyone from the east coast care to chime in here? It would be interesting also to hear from other places.

Catmint, Zuzu is correct, mat rhymes with cat in this instance.


*waves* East Coast here. Post up there. Green Grin!
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Jun 9, 2015 8:20 PM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Yep, missed that! Thanks, Kyla.
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Image
Jun 9, 2015 8:25 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
I grew up in a gardening family saying Kle-MAT-tis but now say KLEM-uh-tis........How do you pronounce Peony?
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Jun 9, 2015 8:25 PM CST
Name: Catmint/Robin
PNW WA half hour south of Olym (Zone 8a)
Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
Echinacea Azaleas Forum moderator Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
kylaluaz said:
Now I can't get the word out of my mouth because every time I try to say it I think I'm about to say it wrong.
Rolling on the floor laughing


I agree That's the way I feel, too, Kyla--for both Clematis and Agastache. nodding
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso

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