(Anemone quinquefolia) Crowfoot family

Flowers - Solitary, about 1 in. broad, white or delicately tinted

with blue or pink outside. Calyx of 4 to 9 oval, petal-like

sepals; no petals; stamens and carpels numerous, of indefinite

number. Stem: Slender, 4 to 9 in. high, from horizontal elongated

rootstock. Leaves: On slender petioles, in a whorl of 3 to 5

below the flower, each leaf divided into 3 to 5 variously cut and

lobed parts; also a late-appearing leaf from the base.

Preferred Habitat - Woodlands, hillsides, light soil, partial


Flowering Season - April-June.

Distribution - Canada and United States, south to Georgia, west

to Rocky Mountains.

According to one poetical Greek tradition, Anemos, the wind,

employs these exquisitely delicate little star-like namesakes as

heralds of his coming in early spring, while woods and hillsides

still lack foliage to break his gust's rude force. Pliny declared

that only the wind could open anemones! Another legend utilized

by countless poets pictures Venus wandering through the forests

grief-stricken over the death of her youthful lover.

"Alas, the Paphian! fair Adonis slain!

Tears plenteous as his blood she pours amain;

But gentle flowers are born and bloom around

From every drop that falls upon the ground:

Where streams his blood, there blushing springs the rose;

And where a tear has dropped, a wind-flower blows."

Indeed, in reading the poets ancient and modern for references to

this favorite blossom, one realizes as never before the

significance of an anthology, literally a flower gathering.

But it is chiefly the European anemone that is extolled by the

poets. Nevertheless our more slender, fragile, paler-leaved, and

smaller-flowered species, known, strange to say, by the same

scientific name, possesses the greater charm. Doctors, with more

prosaic eyes than the poets, find acrid and dangerous juices in

the anemone and its kin. Certain European peasants will run past

a colony of these pure innocent blossoms in the belief that the

very air is tainted by them. Yet the Romans ceremonially picked

the first anemone of the year, with an incantation supposed to

guard them against fever. The identical plant that blooms in our

woods, which may be found also in Asia, is planted on graves by

the Chinese, who call it the "death flower."

To leave legend and folk lore, the practical scientist sees in

the anemone, trembling and bending before the wind, a perfect

adaptation to its environment. Anchored in the light soil by a

horizontal rootstock; furnished with a stem so slender and

pliable no blast can break it; its pretty leaves whorled where

they form a background to set off the fragile beauty of the

solitary flower above them; a corolla economically dispensed

with, since the white sepals are made to do the advertising for

insects; the slightly nodding attitude of the blossom in cloudy

weather, that the stigmas may be in the line of the fall of

pollen jarred out by the wind in case visitors seeking pollen

fail to bring any from other anemones - all these features teach

that every plant is what it is for excellent reasons of its own;

that it is a sentient being, not to be admired for superficial

beauty merely, but also for those same traits which operate in

the human race, making it the most interesting of studies.

Note the clusters of tuberous dahlia-like roots, the whorl of

thin three-lobed rounded leaflets on long, fine petioles

immediately below the smaller pure white or pinkish flowers

usually growing in loose clusters, to distinguish the more common

RUE-ANEMONE (Syndesmon thalictroides - Thalictrum anemonoides of

Gray) from its cousin the solitary flowered wood or true anemone.

Generally there are three blossoms of the rue-anemone to a

cluster, the central one opening first, the side ones only after

it has developed its stamens and pistils to prolong the season of

bloom and encourage cross-pollination by insects. In the eastern

half of the United States, and less abundantly in Canada, these

are among the most familiar spring wild flowers. Pick them and

they soon wilt miserably; lift the plants early, with a good ball

of soil about the roots, and they will unfold their fragile

blossoms indoors, bringing with them something of the unspeakable

charm of their native woods and hillsides just waking into life.

The TALL or SUMMER ANEMONE (A. Virginiana), called also

THIMBLE-WEED from its oblong, thimble-like fruit-head, bears

solitary, inconspicuous greenish or white flowers, often over an

inch across, and generally with five rounded sepals, on erect,

long stalks from June to August. Contrasted with the dainty

tremulous little spring anemones, it is a rather coarse, stiff,

hairy plant two or three feet tall. Its preference is for

woodlands, whereas another summer bloomer, the LONG-FRUITED

ANEMONE (A. cylindrica), a smaller, silky-hairy plant often

confused with it, chooses open places, fields, and roadsides. The

leaves of the thimble-weed, which are set in a whorl high up on

the stem, and also spring from the root, after the true anemone

fashion, are long petioled, three-parted, the divisions variously

cut, lobed, and saw-edged. The flower-stalks which spring from

this whorl continue to rise throughout the summer. The first, or

middle of these peduncles, lacks leaves; later ones bear two

leaves in the middle, from which more flower-stalks arise, and so


WITCHHAZEL WOOD BETONY LOUSEWORT BEEFSTEAK PLANT HIGH HEALALL facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail