Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Japanese Anemone

Another late fall bloomer, the Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida 'Prince Henry') is still hanging on in the garden because there hasn't been enough of a frost to damage it yet. Anemones are another member of the Buttercup family, which favors either spring or fall flowering and all seem quite tolerant of cold. Like many other members of the family, there is only a single perianth whorl of many petalloid sepals, or for those of us who shy away from commitment, tepals, surrounging many stamens and a domed receptacle bearing many pistils. Yes, that should just scream, "I'm a member of the Ranunculaceae to all students of plant taxonomy." The name anemone comes from the Greek root for wind, and thus their common name windflower, but this gets confused with Pulsatilla, which uses the same common name. In both genera as well as Clematis, each pistil becomes an achene and each bears a persistent style that becomes a fluffy appendage to aid in wind dispersal. So either the radiating perianth or the "writhing" mass of styles were thought similar to the radiating arms of the sea anemone because why else name a sessile marine animal after the wind?

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