Meadow Anemone
Anemone canadensis
Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae)

Description: This perennial wildflower produces basal leaves about ' tall and flowering stems about -2' tall. The basal leaves are 3-6" long and similarly across. Each basal leaf is deeply divided into 3-5 primary lobes that are more or less oblanceolate in shape; each primary lobe is subdivided into 2-3 secondary lobes. In addition to their lobes, the basal leaves have scattered dentate teeth along their margins. The upper blade surface of these leaves is medium to dark green and either hairless or sparsely short-hairy, while the lower blade surface is pale green and sparsely hairy, especially along the veins. The petioles of the basal leaves are about 4-8" long, light green, terete, and hairy. The flowering stems produce pairs of opposite leaves (leafy involucral bracts) in 1-2 tiers. The opposite leaves are similar to the basal leaves, except they are sessile; leaves of the second tier are also smaller in size. The stems are light green, terete, and hairy. Above each tier of opposite leaves, 1-3 flowers are produced from pedicels about 2-4" long. Each flower is 1-1" across, consisting of 5 white petaloid sepals, a cluster of pistils, and numerous stamens with yellow anthers. The pedicels are light green, terete, and hairy.

The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer for about 1-1 months. Afterwards, each flower is replaced by a cluster of achenes. The achenes have bodies about 4-6 mm. long and a little less across, while their beaks are 2-6 mm. long; they are also flattened and slightly hairy. The root system is rhizomatous. Vegetative colonies of plants are often produced.

Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, moist conditions, and calcareous soil containing loam or gravelly material.

Range & Habitat: The native Meadow Anemone is occasional in northern and central Illinois, while in the southern section of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist prairies, sedge meadows, openings in floodplain woodlands, woodland borders, banks of streams, and swampy areas. These habitats can be either sandy or non-sandy. Because of its attractive flowers and foliage, Meadow Anemone is cultivated occasionally in gardens.

Faunal Associations:
Floral visitors include small bees (Andrenid, Halictid) that collect pollen and Syrphid flies that feed on pollen. The larvae of a fly, Dasineura anemone, form bud galls on Meadow Anemone. Another insect, Rhizoecus falcifer (Ground Mealybug), feeds on the roots. Because the foliage contains blistering agents that can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, mammalian herbivores usually avoid consumption of this plant.

Photographic Location: The Toledo Botanical Garden in Toledo, Ohio.

Comments: Meadow Anemone is similar in appearance to Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana) and Candle Anemone (Anemone cylindrica), except that it has larger flowers, sessile opposite leaves, and achenes that are only sparsely hairy, instead of being embedded in a cottony mass of hairs. In addition to these three species, other native species of this genus in Illinois are smaller plants that bloom earlier in the year. Another common name of Anemone canadensis is Canada Anemone.