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Anemone ( , from Greek Άνεμος 'wind'), is a genus of about 120 species of flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae in the north and south temperate zones. They are closely related to Pasque flowers (Pulsatilla) and Hepaticas (Hepatica); some botanists include both of these genera within Anemone.


Anemone are perennial herbs, growing from rhizomes, caudices, or tubers. Species have basal leaves with long petiole stems that can be upright or prostate, the foliage is simple or compound with lobed, parted, or undivided leaf blades. The leaf margins are entire or toothed. The flowers are produced in terminal inflorescences with involucres, and they can be arranged in two-to-nine-flowered cyme or in umbels, or be solitary. They have involucral bracts that can be leaf-like and/or petal-like. The flowers are bisexual and are radially symmetrical with 10 to 200 stamens. The flowers have nectaries, and many simple pistils, but petals are missing in the majority of species. The pistils have one ovule. The 4 to 27 sepals can be white, purple, blue, green, yellow, pink, or red and wither away during fruit growth. The fruits are ovoid to odovoid 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.

Species list

There are approximately 150 species, including:


Many of the species are favorite garden plants, particularly since the different species can provide flowers throughout the year.

Of the late spring bulbs, A. blanda is one of the commonest, and is often sold as a mixture of colours, although purple predominates. The genus contains many other spring-flowering plants, of which A. hortensis and A. fulgens have less divided leaves and splendid rosy-purple or scarlet flowers. They require similar treatment.

Among the best known summer anemone is Anemone coronaria, often called the poppy anemone, a tuberous-rooted plant, with parsleylike divided leaves, and large showy poppylike 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.

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.

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. Anemone thrives in partial shade, or in full sun provided they are shielded from the hottest sun in southern areas. A well-drained slightly acid soil, enriched with compost, is ideal.

Anemone species are sometimes targeted by cutworms, the larvae of noctuid moths such as Angle Shades and Heart and Dart.

History and symbolism

The meaning of the anemone flower is "forsaken" and also "a dying hope". The flower Anemone could also be used to signify anticipation.

The Anemone coronaria ("Kalanit" in Hebrew) is one of the best-known and beloved flowers in Israelmarker. During the British Mandate of Palestine, British soldiers were nicknamed "Kalaniyot" for their red berrets.

The anemone is called the wind flower because it was believed that wind is what caused it to bloom.

In Ovid's Metamorphoses (book X), Venus transforms the blood of her dead lover, Adonis, into an Anemone. One implication is that the blood-red petals are symbolic of her lost love because, as the verses conclude, they cling too loosely to the stem and are easily lost in the wind. In some versions of the myth, Venus's tears cause the transformation.

In the New Testament, Jesus says that even “Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed” as beautifully as an anemone. Although the traditional English translation (King James Version) is usually rendered as “lilies of the field”, the original Greek κρινα (krina) is anemone.


  1. See entry for "anemone" in A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities edited by William Smith,
  2. Matthew 6:29; Luke 12:27
An illustration of an Anemone.

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