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Anemone (/əˈnɛmən/) is a genus of about 200 species of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to temperate zones. The genus is closely related to Pulsatilla ('Pasque flower') and Hepatica; some botanists even include both of these genera within Anemone.

Anemone coronaria
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribe: Anemoneae
Genus: Anemone
Type species
Anemone coronaria L.

See text


Anemoclema (Franch.) W. T. Wang
Anemonastrum Holub
Anemonidium (Spach) Holub
Anetilla Galushko
Arsenjevia Starod.
Eriocapitella Nakai
Jurtsevia Á. & D. Löve
Probable synonyms:
Barneoudia Gay
Hepatica Mill.
Knowltonia Salisb.
Oreithales Schltdl.
Pulsatilla Mill.
Sources: GRIN,[1] ING,[2][3]


An illustration of an anemone

Anemone are perennials that have basal leaves with long leaf-stems that can be upright or prostrate. Leaves are simple or compound with lobed, parted, or undivided leaf blades. The leaf margins are toothed or entire.

Flowers with 4–27 sepals are produced singly, in cymes of 2–9 flowers, or in umbels, above a cluster of leaf- or sepal-like bracts. Sepals may be any color. The pistils have one ovule. The flowers have nectaries, but petals are missing in the majority of species.

The fruits are ovoid to obovoid shaped achenes that are collected together in a tight cluster, ending variously lengthened stalks; though many species have sessile clusters terminating the stems. The achenes are beaked and some species have feathery hairs attached to them.[3]

Anemone are called "wind flowers". Anemone is derived from the Greek word anemoi, which in English means "winds".


Anemone is situated in the tribe Anemoneae, subfamily Ranunculoideae, and the family Ranunculaceae.[4] As considered in the broader sense (sensu lato) the genus subsumes a number of previously independent genera including Hepatica, Pulsatilla, Knowltonia, Barneoudia and Oreithales.[5] Several of these were included as separate genera within Anemoneae by Wang et al., a tribe with six genera in total.[4]

Early molecular analyses divided the genus into two subgenera (Anemonidium and Anemone), with seven sections, and 12 informal subsections.[6] Ziman and colleagues (2008) treated the genus Anemone as 5 subgenera, 23 sections, 4 subsections, 23 series and about 118 species.[7] A further reclassification by Hoot and colleagues (2012) estimated 200 species.[5]

Hoot et al. found many of the previously defined subdivisions, based on morphological characteristics were polyphyletic or paraphyletic. In contrast two clearly defined monophyletic clades emerged corresponding to the above two subgenera. Anemonidium demonstrated four subclades, corresponding to sections. The larger subgenus Anemone showed a similar pattern.

Hoot et al. proposed the following two subgenera (and sections) be retained;

  • Anemonidium (Spach) Juz.
    • Hepatica Spreng.
    • Keiskea Tamura
    • Anemonidium Spach
    • Omalocarpus DC.
  • Anemone L.
    • Pulsatilloides DC.
    • Pulsatilla (Mill.) DC.
    • Rivularidium Jancz.
    • Anemone L.

Within these sections a number of subsections and series were defined.

Selected speciesEdit

The 2008 Flora of North America estimated there were 150 species of Anemone,[3][8] including:

Former Pulsatilla speciesEdit

Former Hepatica speciesEdit


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Greek ἀνεμώνη (anemōnē) means 'daughter of the wind', from ἄνεμος (ánemos, 'wind') + feminine patronymic suffix -ώνη (-ṓnē, so 'daughter of').[9] The Metamorphoses of Ovid tells that the plant was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. The name windflower is used for the whole genus as well as the wood anemone A. nemorosa.[10][11]


Diseases and pestsEdit

Anemone species are sometimes targeted by cutworms, the larvae of noctuid moths such as angle shades and heart and dart.[citation needed]


Many of the species are popular garden plants, providing colour throughout the season from early spring into autumn. Numerous cultivars have been selected. In horticultural terms there are three main groups:

  1. spring-flowering species found in woodland and alpine meadows, often tuberous or rhizomatous; e.g. A. nemorosa, A. blanda
  2. spring- and summer-flowering species from hot dry areas, with tuberous roots, e.g. A. coronaria
  3. summer- and autumn-flowering species with fibrous roots, which thrive in moist dappled shade; e.g. A. hupehensis[12]

Of the late spring bulbs, Anemone blanda is one of the species grown in larger-scale commercial cultivation. It is most commonly available with a somewhat pale violet flower. A white-flowered form is the second-most common type. The least common of the commonly cultivated forms is a pale pink. The violet, and especially pink, forms often possess petals that fade to white near the flower center. The genus contains many other spring-flowering plants, of which A. hortensis and the hybrid A. fulgens have less divided leaves and splendid rosy-purple or scarlet flowers. They require similar treatment.[13]

Among the most well-known summer anemones is A. coronaria, often called the poppy anemone, a tuberous-rooted plant, with parsley-like divided leaves, and large showy poppy-like blossoms on stalks of from 15–20 cm high; the flowers are of various colours, but the principal are scarlet, crimson, blue, purple, and white. There are also double-flowered varieties, in which the stamens in the centre are replaced by a tuft of narrow petals. It is an old garden favourite, and of the double forms there are named varieties.[13] Hybrids of the de Caen and St. Brigid groups are the most prevalent on the market.

Anemone hupehensis, and its white cultivar 'Honorine Joubert', the latter especially, are amongst the finest of autumn-flowering hardy perennials; they grow well in light soil, and reach 60–100 cm in height, blooming continually for several weeks. A group of dwarf species, represented by the native British A. nemorosa and A. apennina, are amongst the most beautiful of spring flowers for planting in woods and shady places.[13]

Anemones grow best in a loamy soil, enriched with well-rotted manure, which should be dug in below the tubers. These may be planted in October, and for succession in January, the autumn-planted ones being protected by a covering of leaves or short stable litter. They will flower in May and June, and when the leaves have ripened should be taken up into a dry room till planting time. They are easily raised from the seed, and a bed of the single varieties is a valuable addition to a flower-garden, as it affords, in a warm situation, an abundance of handsome and often brilliant spring flowers, almost as early as the snowdrop or crocus.[13] Anemone thrives in partial shade, or in full sun provided they are shielded from the hottest sun in southern areas. A well-drained soil, enriched with compost, is ideal.[citation needed]

If cut flowers are desired, it is best to harvest the flowers early in the morning while it is still cold outside while the bloom is still closed. To open your flowers place in room temperature water out of direct sun. Anemones are a great cut flower and will give you around nine days of vase life when properly cared for. Anemone blooms can be purchased from a florist between November and June depending upon availability.

Anemone in cultureEdit

The anemone has several different meanings depending on the culture and context in which the flower is being used.

Several of the Western meanings of anemone flowers pertain to the Greek mythology of the origin of the anemone flower featuring Adonis and Aphrodite. The goddess Aphrodite kept the mortal man Adonis as a lover; when Adonis was gored by a wild boar, Aphrodite's tears at his death mixed with his blood and gave rise to the anemone flower.[14] In other versions, the boar was sent by other jealous Greek gods to murder Adonis.[15] These origin stories reflect the classical dual meanings of the arrival of spring breezes and the death of a loved one.

In the Victorian language of flowers, the anemone represented a forsaken love of any kind, while European peasants carried them to ward off pests and disease as well as bad luck.

In other cultures, the meanings can be very different. In Chinese and Egyptian cultures, the flower was considered a symbol of illness due to its coloring. It can be a symbol of bad luck in Eastern cultures, and because of its origins the Japanese anemone tends to be associated with ill tidings.[11]



  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) (2007-05-10). "Genus: Anemone L." Taxonomy for Plants. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Archived from the original on 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  2. ^ International Organization for Plant Information (IOPI). "Plant Name Search Results". International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  3. ^ a b c Flora of North America.
  4. ^ a b Wang et al 2009.
  5. ^ a b Hoot et al 2012.
  6. ^ Hoot et al 1994.
  7. ^ Ziman et al 2011.
  8. ^ The Plant List 2013, Anemone
  9. ^ "Anemone". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ Shorter Oxford English dictionary, 6th ed. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 0199206872.
  11. ^ a b Flower meaning 2016.
  12. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  13. ^ a b c d   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Anemone". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 3.
  14. ^ Silveira, Cyrino, Monica (2010). Aphrodite. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9780415775229. OCLC 277195883.
  15. ^ 1897-1973., Kerényi, Karl, (1951). The gods of the Greeks. London,: Thames, and Hudson. ISBN 0500270481. OCLC 387233.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)


External linksEdit