Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Anemone Sp. - Anemone

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family) [E-flora]

"Perennial herb from caudex, rhizome, or tuber. Leaf: basal, generally many, simple to compound, generally petioled; blade or leaflets lobed to dissected or not, margins entire or toothed; in flower or fruit withered or not. Inflorescence: terminal, flowers 1 or 2–7[9] in cymes; peduncle erect; pedicel elongated in fruit; involucre bracts sessile or stalked, generally in 1–2 whorls of 2–5[9], simple to compound, ± like leaves or leaflets in size, shape. Flower: receptacle elongated in fruit; sepals 5–10[27], petal-like; petals generally 0; stamens 10–200; pistils many, styles persistent as beaks. Fruit: achene.
± 150 species: arctic, temperate worldwide; some cultivated for ornamental. (Greek: flower shaken by wind) [Dutton et al. 1997 FNANM 3:139–155] Species with long, plumose styles sometimes placed in Pulsatilla.
Unabridged references: [Hoot et al. 1994 Syst Bot 19:169–200]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Anemone drummondii - Alpine anemone [E-flora]
  2. Anemone lyallii - Lyall's anemone [E-flora]
  3. Anemone multifida- Cut-leaved anemone [E-flora]
  4. Anemone narcissiflora - Narcissus anemone [E-flora]
  5. Anemone parviflora- Northern anemone [E-flora]

"There are a variety of herbal uses in traditional medicine for protoanemonin - containing species including Anemone and Pulsatilla species. The most common use by Native American peoples for these plants was as a counter - irritant in the form of an external poultice for abrasions, boils, cuts, and skin sores.1 Other traditional uses for extracts from these plants included rheumatism, stomach troubles, and promoting childbirth. The Teton Sioux Indians also used extracts from Clematis hirsutissima Pursh (sugarbowls, hairy clematis) to stimulate horses by inserting the scraped root from C. hirsutissima into the nostril of the horse.2" [TNS]

Anemone sp.- Poison* Lewis; Tumor(Skin) Hartwell [DukePhyto]

Uses of Related Sp.

Anemone nemorosa - Wood Anemone
"Medicinal Parts: The medicinal parts are the fresh plant gathered shortly before the flowers open and the dried aerial parts of the plant." [PDR]
"Habitat: The plant is spread almost all over Europe as far as the Volga region except in the Mediterranean and northern Lapland." [PDR]
Phytochemicals: "Protoanemonine-forming agents (yielding approximately 300 meg protoanemonine per gram of fresh weight): " presumably, the glycoside ranunculin, which changes enzymatically when the plant is cut into small pieces (and probably also when it is dried) into the pungent, volatile protoanemonine that quickly dimerizes to anemonine; when dried, the plant is not capable of protoanemonine formation" [PDR]
Activities "Antiseptic (1; HHB); Neurotonic (f; EFS); Vesicant (1; PH2); Toxic (f; EFS)." [HMH Duke]
Select Indications Cancer (f; JLH); Cancer, foot (f; JLH) [HMH Duke]
"Unproven Uses: The drug is used for stomach pains, delayed menstruation, gout, whooping cough and asthma." [PDR]
Hazards: "Prolonged skin contact with the freshly harvested plant can lead to slow-healing blisters and cauterizations due to the formation of protoanemonine. which is severely irritating to skin and mucous membranes. If taken internally, severe irritation to the gastrointestinal tract and urinary drainage passages, as well as colic and diarrhea, are possible. Symptomatic treatment for external contact should consist of irrigation with diluted potassium permanganate solution followed by mucilage." [PDR]
Hazards "Internally may cause colic and diarrhea, irritating GI tract and urethra; externally a vesicant, irritating skin and mucus membrane (PH2). Ingestion of 30 freshly harvested plants is considered the lethal dose for humans (PH2)." [HMH Duke]
"Overdosage: In case of internal contact, administer gastric lavage followed by activated charcoal. Death by asphyxiation following the intake of large quantities of protoanemonine-forming plants has been observed in animal experiments. The ingestion of 30 freshly harvested plants is considered the fatal level for humans." [PDR]
"Mode of Administration: The drug can be found in dilute homeopathic preparations of the mother tincture." [PDR]

"Anemone caffra Harv. (Ranunculaceae). Anemone. In parts of southern Africa, smoke of smoldering roots was inhaled to treat colds and headaches (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962)."[UAPDS]

"Anemone fanninii Harv. (Ranunculaceae). giant wild anemone. Like Anemone caff ra Harv., the smoke of smoldering roots was used for treating colds and headaches in parts of southern Africa (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962)."[UAPDS]

"Anemone obtusiloba D. Don. (Ranunculaceae). Himalayan blue buttercup. In the Sikkim Himalayas of India, the roots, which some consider poisonous, were burned for incense purposes (Pandey 1991)."[UAPDS]

Anemonella thalictroides - Rue Anemone "This delicate spring flower is found from New Hampshire to Minnesota, south to Florida, Tennessee, and Kansas. The starchy tuberous roots are edible when cooked. I know of mountainous districts in Pennsylvania where these roots are collected and eaten under the name of "wild potato." The plant should be protected." [EWP]

"Anemone virginiana L. (Ranunculaceae). tall anemone. The Meskwaki of North America burned the seeds to produce smoke to treat catarrh and to revive unconscious people (Smith 1928; Vogel 1970). T e smoke was directed up the nose of the patient using a special cone."[UAPDS]

"Anemone vitifolia Buch.-Ham. ex DC. (Ranunculaceae). Scarborough anemone. The entire plant was burned for incense purposes in the Manang District of Nepal (Pohle 1990)."[UAPDS]

Anemone multifida Poir., Pacific Anemone

Anemone sp., "Buttercup Drug-Cowlitz Tuberculosis Remedy Infusion of plants taken for tu- berculosis. (79:29) Ojibwa, South Analgesic Snuff of powdered, dry leaves used as an errhine for headache. (91:200) Thompson Unspeci- fiedPlant used medicinally for unspecified purpose. (164:469)" [NAEth Moerman]

"In 1933 ethnobotanist Huron Smith reported that the Eclectic practitioners, a group of college- trained physicians whose practices were based on a wide variety of techniques, used most species of the Anemone interchangeably for many ailments. "Included in these ailments are: cataract, paralysis, rheumatism, melancholia, syphi-lis, dysmenorrhea, and many other morbid conditions." Smith, how- ever, had previously questioned its effectiveness (Smith, 1933, p. 383; Smith, 1928, p. 238)." [MedWildPOTP]


Anemone spp.
"Days to Germination: 21 to 28 days at 700F to 750F (21 0C to 24 0C) Prechilling aids germination" [NSSH Bubel]
"Growing Conditions: Both types of anemones need shelter from strong winds, and fertile, humus-rich soil. They like afternoon shade in warm climates. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart." [NSSH Bubel]


Anemone drummondii - Alpine anemone

Subtaxa Present in B.C.;

"General: Perennial herb from a branching woody stem-base; stems erect, 10-30 cm tall, stiff-hairy." [IFBC-E-flora]

Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:

Habitat/Range: "Mesic to dry meadows, rock outcrops and scree slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; rare in SW BC (var. drummondii), common in SE BC, infrequent elsewhere E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains (var. lithophila); N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to WY (var. lithophila), S to CA, disjunct in C ID (var. drummondii)." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]


Anemone lyallii - Lyall's anemone

"General: Perennial herb from a horizontal, pale, scaly rhizome; stems slender, erect, 5-30 cm tall, minutely hairy to smooth." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "Moist meadows, thickets and forests in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; infrequent in SW BC, disjunct in WC BC; S to N CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]



Anemone multifida var multifida - cut-leaved anemone

Subtaxa present in B.C.

"General: Perennial herb from a woody stem-base; stems 1 to many, erect, 10-60 cm tall, sparsely to abundantly hairy" [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "Mesic to dry grasslands, shrublands, open forests, rock outcrops and meadows in the lowland to subalpine zones; common throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NY, ME, NE, NM, NV and N CA, disjunct in S America." [IFBC-E-flora]

Anemone globosa Nutt. (A. multifida Poir.),
"Southern Carrier: Plant, except roots, boiled and decoction taken internally for any sickness. Aroma of crushed leaves inhaled for cold in the head or lungs; for this purpose leaves sometimes placed in water and heated."
"Gitksan : Handfuls eaten in sweat bath for rheumatism. A decoction of the plant sometimes used for the same purpose."[????]

Anemone multifida - Ache(Head) and Fumitory [DukePhyto]



Anemone narcissiflora - Narcissus anemone

"Anemone narcissiflora is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile." [PFAF]

"Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil".[PFAF]

Subtaxa Present in B.C.;

"General: Perennial herb from a woody stem-base; stems erect, 7-60 cm tall; commonly hairy." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "Moist to mesic meadows, heath, rocky slopes, shrublands and forest openings in the subalpine and alpine zones; common in N BC and along the coast from Brooks Peninsula northward; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT." [IFBC-E-flora]


"Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, many members of this genus contain protoanemonin, an irritating acrid oil that is an enzymatic breakdown product of the glycoside ranunculin. While protoanemonin can cause severe topical and gastrointestinal irritation, it is unstable and changes into harmless anemonin when plants are dried or heated[4, 10, 19, 65, 270]." [PFAF]

Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses


Anemone narcissiflora (Ranunculaceae) BETULINIC-ACID Plant: JAD [DukePhyto]

Cultivation & Propagation

"Succeeds in ordinary garden soil but prefers a rich sandy loam[1] and full sun[200]. Succeeds in full sun or part shade[187]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[233]. Hardy to about -20°c[187]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. A very ornamental[1] and highly polymorphic plant[50, 187, 270]. There are a large number of sub-species[270]." [PFAF]

"Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer[1]. Surface sow or only just cover the seed and keep the soil moist. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in late winter or early spring. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first year. When the plants are large enough, plant them out in the spring. Division in late summer after the plant dies down. This plant is very slow to increase[187]." [PFAF]


Anemone parviflora- Northern anemone

"General: Perennial herb from a short woody stem-base on widespread, slender, horizontal rhizomes; stems erect, 5-30 cm tall; nearly smooth to densely soft-hairy." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "Moist meadows, heath, seepage sites, snowbeds, scree, tundra, thickets, streambanks and forest openings from the montane to the alpine zones; frequent throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ID, CO and NE OR." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Medicinal Use

"Anemone parviflora Michx. (pepperplant). Formerly, leaves were ground, then boiled in water to make a peppery-tasting tea used for tuberculosis. (Nos. 835, 875)" [Ethftyukon]


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