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Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

A characteristic sign that spring is arriving, this low-growing plant displays a white flower from March to May in deciduous woodlands across the UK.

Common name: wood anemone

Scientific name: Anemone nemorosa

Family: Ranunculaceae

What do they look like?

Leaves: the shape of the leaf displays three visible lobes and the stalks are long. Leaves are basal.

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

Not to be confused with:

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella): at a distance it may appear like wood anemone but this plant has distinctive pink veins in its white petals and the leaves are different in shape displaying a rounded, heart shaped appearance compared to the deeply lobed leaves of the wood anemone.

Where and when to find wood anemone

Where: mature deciduous woodlands across the UK, as well as by hedgerows and meadows.

When: a perennial which flowers from March to May.

Value to wildlife?

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

Uses and folklore

Ancient woodland indicator: the presence of this species can indicate ancient woodlands as it is a slow growing species, which spreads via rhizomes.

Medicine: wood anemone is known to be poisonous so is not used in traditional medicines.

Poetry: wood anemone has featured in various poems, such as those written by the English poet John Clare.