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Anemone quinquefolia (Wood anemone)
Cressler, Alan

Anemone quinquefolia

Anemone quinquefolia L.

Wood Anemone, Nightcaps, Windflower

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A low, delicate plant with a whorl of 3 stalked, deeply cut leaves and a solitary, stalked white flower. Slender stalk has basal leaves and a whorl of 3- to 5-parted leaves at its apex. A single white or pink flower arises above the leaf whorl. Solitary divided leaves also arise from the rootstock. Disappears after blooming.

This is an early spring wildflower which often forms sizable stands on woodland borders. Since Anemones are usually slender-stalked and tremble in the breeze, they have been called "Wind Flowers."


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Blue
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Northern Ont. & e. Man., s. to MD, KY & e. NE; also mts. to GA
Native Habitat: Woodland, Forest Edge

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Damp, rich, mucky soils
Conditions Comments: Forms colonies and makes a ground cover for open woods.


Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts when fresh. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include inflammation and blistering upon contact with fresh sap and irritation of the mouth, vomiting and diarrhea following ingestion. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagate by root cuttings, rootstock divisions or seed. Seeds ripen quickly and should be sown immediately after ripening. Seedlings will produce flowers in 3-4 years.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Anemone quinquefolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Anemone quinquefolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Anemone quinquefolia


Record Modified: 2023-05-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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