Leaves of clematis pauciflora
are divided into five, less often three leaflets, ovate in outline, shallowly irregularly lobed, shiny and hairless. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the long stems, which grow on other vegetation for support.
Flowers may be solitary, or in clusters of two or three (occasionally up to ten); fewer than other clematis species. The creamy-white sepals, up to half an inch long, are hairless above, hairy below, and are reflexed when mature. There are no petals. Above the sepals are between 25 and 50 stamens, and a similar number of pistils, all relatively thick, and about the same length as the sepals. Fruits are dry, one-seeded capsules, with a long, curving, feathery style at the tip.