Anemone nemorosa

Anemone nemorosa

Wood anemone nemorosaPLANT of the WEEK:

Logo smallPlant of the Week” started as a series of fact sheets I did for a horticulture class I took at Oregon State University on herbaceous perennials (HORT 255). I thought others might also be interested and we could have a discussion on our experiences with some of these plants.  I have also started adding to the list with some of my favorite plants.

PLANT: Anemone nemorosa, Aka wood anemone, windflower.  A species of the diverse genus anemone, a genus consisting of over 100 species.
H x W –  A spreading perennial.  6 inches tall spreading to up to 3 feet wide. USDA zone 5 to 9.

CULTURE: Anemone, part of the Ranunculaceae family, consists of over 100 species.  The species are divided into three groups based on their root stock and growing habits: fibrous, tuberous rhizomes, and rooted rhizomes.   The A. nemorosa is part of the tuberous rhizome group.

anemone-nemerosa
Anemone nemorosa, Richie Steffen – courtesy of Great Plant Picks.

SITING AND USES IN THE LANDSCAPE: 
All species appreciate shelter from the afternoon sun and do poorly if allowed to dry out. The early spring-flowering tuberous species usually become dormant by the time the hot sun of the summer arrives.  Wood anemone adapts to a wide range of soils including sand and clay, but prefers a well-drained location.  Underground rhizomes can be divided from early summer to late winter.

FLOWERS
Flowering is pink, white or lavender and is most profuse in full sun to light or open shade. Most species have compound leaves and apetalous (no petals) flowers, most of the color the result of the showy sepals.  A. nemorosa is a spring flowering tuberous species. Pollination is by insects, especially hoverflies.

MAINTENANCE AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT
The tuberous types of Anemone are best planted in mid to late October, approximately 3″ deep.  New leaves emerge in late winter and remain until mid-summer. When foliage begins to yellow and die back it can be cut to the ground. It is drought tolerant and remains dormant during the dry summer weather

ETHNOBOTANICAL USES:
The plant contains poisonous chemicals that are toxic to animals including humans, but it has also been used as a medicine. All parts of the plant contain protoanemonin (a toxin present in the Ranunculaceae family), which can cause severe skin and gastrointestinal irritation, bitter taste and burning in the mouth and throat, mouth ulcers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hematemesis (vomiting blood).

SOURCES:
Great Plant Picks website, shade loving PNW plants.  The Disabato-Aust book refers to only the Japanese anemone which sounds taller and shorter lived, whereas the Armitage book has more depth and detail on all Anemone species noting the Japanese anemone are really not from Japan and should really be called the fall flowering anemones.

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