White Anemone (Windflower)

Photo of white anemone
Scientific Name
Anemone canadensis
Ranunculaceae (buttercups; crowfoots)

White anemone is a leafy perennial with showy white flowers, often occurring in large colonies. Flowers single, to 1¾ inches wide, on long stems from upper leaf axils, typical anemone type, with 5 sepals acting as petals; white, with many yellow stamens. Blooms May–July. Basal leaves on long stems, 3-divided, with further incisions and coarse teeth. Stem leaves similar but sessile (stalkless). New plants arise from spreading underground rhizomes.

Other Common Names
Meadow Anemone
Canada Anemone

Height: to 3 feet, but usually shorter.

Where To Find
image of White Anemone Meadow Anemone Windflower distribution map

Northern, central, and eastern Missouri. It covers large areas on dikes of the Mississippi River in northeastern Missouri. Absent from most of the Ozarks and unglaciated prairies.

Occurs on river floodplains, low meadows and thickets, moist prairies and swales, low areas along railroads, low woods, at the bases of river bluffs, along streams and levees, and in other moist situations, mainly along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries.

Native Americans used this plant to make a medicine for treating wounds. Today, it is often cultivated in native plant gardens and naturalized around ponds and streams. It offers attractive foliage and is a beautiful early bloomer — but it is also an aggressive spreader.

Several types of insects visit the flowers to eat the pollen and (in the process) pollinate the plant. The foliage is distasteful to mammals, so it is rarely eaten by them.

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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!