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Yellow Wood Anemone
- Family: Buttercup Family – Ranunculaceae
- Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock long, creeping, brown, with runners.
- Height: 7–30 cm (2.8–12 in.). Stem unbranched, glabrous at base.
- Flower: Perianth regular (actinomorphic), yellow, 15–30 mm (0.6–1.2 in.) wide. Tepals 5, outer surface hairy. Stamens many, yellow. Gynoecium separate, with many pistils. Flowers 1 or 2, rarely more.
- Leaves: Basal leaves 1, long-stalked, 3–5-lobed, large-toothed, hairy-edged. Stem leaves in a whorl of 3, short-stalked. Blade with 3 leaflets; leaflets quite narrow, pinnatifid–large-toothed.
- Fruit: Hairy, short-tipped, 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in.) long achene, forming a cluster. Infructescence erect.
- Habitat: Rich waterside broad-leaved forests, coppices, stream banks, parks. Also ornamental.
- Flowering time: May–June.
Yellow wood anemone spread to Finland a long time ago from the south-east and south-west. Its current habitat is mainly in south-west Finland and the hardwood and broad-leaved forests of the Åland Islands. Yellow wood anemone is demanding and is not satisfied with just any old forest floor, rather it needs a highly fertile, preferably clay-rich soil to thrive. The species form pure, wide, golden-yellow stands only in the most suitable places in the country: usually it appears in small patches, mixed in with wood anemone. Its natural habitat stretches to Orivesi, Eräjärvi and Jämsä, but people have extended this by transplanting the species from the wild to parks and their own back gardens.
In days gone by plants were not so systematically named and they often had long Latin names – for instance yellow wood anemone was called Nemorosus flore luteo, which loosely translates as ’yellow flower growing in broad-leaved forests’! Back in 1753 the Swedish botanist Carl von Linné established the system of scientifically naming plants which is still in use today. The first part of the name in yellow wood anemone’s case is Anemone, which is the scientific name of the genus, and this is followed by ranunculoides, which is specific to the species. Linné’s classification is however a human creation, and species do not always have natural, clear divisions. Yellow wood anemone can be quite reminiscent of wood anemone (A. nemorosa). The flowering plants can hardly be confused with one another, but before that they can be differentiated by the shorter stalk on wood anemone’s leaves.
Yellow wood anemone and wood anemone can cross-breed: the result, (A. nemorosa × ranunculoides), has pale yellow flowers and is otherwise an intermediate form of its parents.