Skip to main content
Quick facts

Common names: wood anemone, windflower

Scientific name: Anemone nemorosa

Family: Buttercup

Origin: native

Flowering season: March to May

Habitat: ancient woodland

What does wood anemone look like?

Star-shaped and often seen covering the floor of mature deciduous woodland, wood anemone is a spring showstopper. 

Leaves: each leaf displays three visible lobes and the stalks are long. The leaves are basal, meaning they are in a rosette at the base of the plant.

Flowers: petals are white, with a pinkish tinge. Many distinct yellow anthers are visible.

Could be confused with: wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) at a distance. Though the plants are similar, wood sorrel has distinctive pink veins in its white petals and the leaves are different in shape, with a rounded, heart-shaped appearance compared to the deeply lobed leaves of the wood anemone.

Wood anemones covering woodland floor

Credit: WTML

Where to find wood anemone

Wood anemones can be found in mature deciduous woodlands across the UK, as well as by hedgerows and meadows.

Wood anemone flowers and leaves close-up

Trees woods and wildlife

A sign of ancient woodland

Wood anemone is an ancient-woodland-indicator plant. If you spot it while you're out exploring, it could be a sign you're standing in a rare and special habitat. 

Learn more about ancient woodland

Value to wildlife

Hoverflies are thought to favour this plant and to be significant in pollinating the species.

Did you know?

Wood anemones are named after the Greek god Anemos, who sent the flowers ahead of him in spring.

Uses of wood anemone

The presence of wood anemones can indicate ancient woodland as it is a slow-growing species which spreads via rhizomes – horizontal underground stems.

Wood anemone flower and leaves

Credit: Niall Benvie / naturepl.com

Threats and conservation

Wood anemone is often found in ancient woodland, a habitat which is in desperate need of protection. As well as wood anemone, thousands of species rely on these complex and irreplaceable habitats.

Did you know?

The Romans considered wood anemones a 'lucky charm' and would pick the first flowers to appear each year to ward off fever.