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.
Height: to 3 feet, but usually shorter.
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.
Habitat and Conservation
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.