Canada Anemone

Canada Anemone

Anemone canadensis


Canada anemone is a small, spreading, and rare native wildflower. Part of the buttercup family, its flower resembles a larger buttercup. The flower has five bright white petal-like sepals, a yellow center. Flowers occur on a long leafless stalk. Its palmately lobed leaves are split into usually 5-7 parts which themselves can be deeply cut or toothed. Along the stem the leaves are opposite and sessile. After flowering between May and July, the plants develop clusters of spiky seeds.


Canada anemone is a sun-loving wetland plant. It is very rare in PEI, officially being found on only a handful of properties. Look for found in damp meadows and other relatively open places with poor drainage.


Canada anemones specialize in vegetative reproduction. Relying on seeds for propagation has its benefits, allowing for more genetic diversity and a larger geographic dispersal. However, it is an energy-intensive strategy with lots of risk. Through the growth of underground rhizomes, Canada anemones can form large clonal colonies. This method is much faster than seeding and less risky in the short term, as new shoots receive nutrients from the whole colony. However, it does have drawbacks. The whole colony is genetically identical, which results in shared vulnerabilities and much less chance of adaptive mutations.

The easiest way to increase numbers of Canada anemone is to buy a few and then plant them in a suitable location. One plant quickly becomes two, then ten, and soon you have dozens. The new plants can easily be transplanted as soon as they emerge in the spring. You can also grow anemones from seed, though success to date has been quite low. Collect seed once the spiky flower clusters are dry, separate the seed from the chaff and then sow the seeds close together, covered by a small amount of soil. Mulch for the winter and in the spring you should have some tiny seedlings popping up.

Wildlife Uses:

The large and numerous flowers of the Canada anemone attract a variety of pollinators, from butterflies to bees. Many varieties of moths are often attracted to white flowers.

Areas of Usage:

With unique foliage and gorgeous white blooms, Canada anemone is an easy choice for any gardener. It grows well in full-sun in sheltered-dry areas and windy-wet areas. It flowers for months with its large attractive white and yellow blooms. It also spreads through underground rhizomes more prolifically then through seeding. It doesn’t do so aggressively, but planting just a few specimens in the right place will begin to do you work for you filling areas with luscious greens and whites.

Additional Information:

Ánemos is the Greek word for ‘wind’ and ónē is a suffix that means ‘daughter of’, so anemōnē means ‘daughter of the wind’. This is based on a myth, told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) created all ‘windflowers’ while mourning the death of her love, Adonis. Some research shows that the name might have arisen from a mixed interpretation of translation of Adonis’ name. In some versions of the myth, the red anemones of Europe and Asia sprang from the blood of Adonis.

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