Friday, March 19, 2010

Wood Anemone - Anemone Nemerosa

This bank of anemones can be found on the track that runs through the Nettleton Shrub valley by  the little brook.

This photo shows the delicate wood (or wind) anemone with its finely dissected leaves, it nestles amongst dog mercury, a woodland plant which is supposedly an indicator of old woods. But it is the white starry anemone that is the subject. Apparently, according to Marjorie Blamey (The Illustrated Flora) there is a yellow one as well. It belongs to the somewhat larger family of pasque flowers, monkshoods and that dainty elegant flower of the garden - larkspur.

Grigson has many local names for the anemone, bread and cheese and cider, candlemas cap, chimney smocks, drops of snow, Moll o' the woods, moon-flower and so it goes on..

Its actual name of anemone is borrowed from the Greek legend of Anemone Coronia, because the flowers nod and shake in the wind, and the Greeks called it Daughter of the Wind.
And to pasque flowers, they have become garden flowers because of their beauty, pasque of course since it blooms at Easter, William Turner gives an apt description...

The firste of these Passe flowers hath many small leaves finely cut or jagged, like those of carrots; among which rise up naked stalkes, rough and hairie; whereupon do grow beautiful flowers bell fashion, of a bright delaid purple; in the bottom whereof groweth a tuft of yellow thrums (stamens) and in the middle of the thrums thrusteth foorth a small purple pointell; when the whole flower is past there succeedeth an head or knoppe, compact of many graie hairie lockes, and in the solid parts of the knops lieth the seede flat and hoarie, every seede having his own small haire hanging from it'

A concise description of a flower that I have never been able to grow, though it has acquired the name of Dane's Blood or Dane's Flower, (unusual beauty deserves unusal origins says Grigson)
But it did grow on the Devil's Dyke and Fleam Dyke which were associated with the Danes.


  1. A lovely piece, thank you. I use the name of Anemone when I write about Goddess Spirituality because of all those reasons.

  2. I was amazed to see some of these out in flower this week - everything else is so far behind I thought these would be too. Such gentle flowers . . .