Anemone quinquefolia

Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone, Photo courtesy USDA Plants Database
Wood Anemone
Photo courtesy USDA Plants Database

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Anemone, an ancient Greek and Latin corruption of the Semitic name for Adonis, from whose blood the red-flowered anemone of the Orient is said to have sprung.
  • quinquefolia, from the Latin, quinque, "five" and folius, "leaf"; hence, "five leaf"
  • Wood Anemone, from it's woodland habitat
  • Other common names include Mayflower, Windflower, Nightcaps


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons
      • Subclass Magnoliidae
        • Order Ranunculales, the Buttercups
          • Family Ranunculaceae, the Buttercups, with Aquilegia (Columbines), Clematis, Coptis (Gold Thread), Hepatica, Ranunculus (Buttercups), and Thalictrum (Meadow Rues).
            • Genus Anemone, the Anemones, with
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 18448
  • Also known as
  • Ranunculus is Latin for "a little frog", the name applied by Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) to a group of plants in this family that grows where frogs abound.


  • A native, colony forming, spring ephemeral wildflower; 2"-8" tall.Wood Anemone, Photo courtesy USDA Plants Database
  • Leaves dark green, deeply cut, usually appearing as five, occasionally three, leaflets, hence the species name; disappearing by midsummer. Solitary, divided leaves also arise from the spreading rootstalk.
  • Stem slender.
  • Flowers white, ¾"; usually with five petals (actually sepals).
  • Fruit a small dry capsule.




  • Woodland edges.
  • Moderate to dense shade.
  • Rich, moist soil.





  • Medicinally used externally for rheumatism and gout. Also used on the feet for corn removal.


  • Blooms mid-May to Memorial Day in the North Country.
  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes.


  • By rhizome division,


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Use between larger plants in the woodland garden. Although spreading from underground rhizomes, it is not considered invasive. The solitary plants are too small and delicate to crowd anything out. Use freely under and around larger plants wherever soil and light conditions permit.



Valley Internet Company
Return to Home Page
Send Feedback to Webmaster

Last Updated on 26 February, 2004