Anemone canadensis L.

White Anemone.

Anemone canadensis plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Habit - Rhizomatous perennial herb, sometimes branched.

Anemone canadensis plant2Population.

Stems - Ascending to erect, to 50 cm, usually branched, silky-hairy.

Anemone canadensis stem2Stem and base of leafy bract.

Leaves - Basal leaves 1-7, deeply palmately divided into 3-5 lobes. Lobes divided again, toothed near apex, the ultimate leaf segments 5-16 mm wide, pointed at the tip, the margins toothed. Blades sericeous below, less so above, +/-12cm broad and long. Petioles to +/-15cm long.

Anemone canadensis leafBasal leaf blade.

Anemone canadensis habitBract and flower.

Anemone canadensis leaf2Bract, abaxial.

Inflorescence - Flowering stems bearing whorls of 3 leaflike bracts, these similar to leaf blades. Inflorescences solitary flowers or loose clusters of 1-5 flowers.

Flowers - Actinomorphic, perfect, stalked, the stalks hairy, to 9 cm. Petaloid sepals 5, white, glabrous, obovate to elliptic, to 2.4 cm long. Petals absent. Stamens numerous, the filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow. Pistils numerous, each with 1 style and 1 ovule.

Anemone canadensis flower2Flower.

Anemone canadensis flower3Rear view.

Fruits - Achenes, obovate in outline, pubescent with straight hairs not concealing the surface, the beak 3-6 mm long.

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Levees, low moist ground, flood plains, low woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a showy plant which sometimes forms large colonies. The big white flowers and palmate leaves are unmistakable.When fresh, the petal-like sepals are brilliantly white, often faking camera light meters into underxposure. The plant is found in scattered locations in Missouri, predominantly in counties bordering the Missouri River. It U.S. range comprises two distinct regions - one across the upper Midwest and Northeast (with Missouri near the southern end of this region), the other along the Rocky Mountains southward into New Mexico. An odd but consistent habitat preference for this species is levee banks.

Because it favors locations near water, you may encounter other interesting species when hunting the plant. One such species is Nerodia sipedon sipedon. This specimen was basking itself on a warm gravel road after a cool night:


Photographs taken at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, 5-3-00, and off the MKT Trail, Columbia, MO., 5-11-04 (DETenaglia); also on a levee near Augusta, Warren County, MO, 5-25-2008, 5-12-2014, and 5-14-2018; and in Larimer County, CO, 7-31-2017 (SRTurner).