Thimbleweed or Tall Anemone

Anemone virginiana

Thimbleweed
Thimbleweed

Here’s another great Virginia wildlflower!  I first found this plant in flower on a walking trail (edge habitat) near my house in early-June. At the time, there were only a couple of small flowers to be seen and it looked like they were all past their prime. I had no idea what it was, and I soon forgot about it.

Today I spotted the flowers again on the Deerfield trail, although this time there were a few more to study.  I thought the leaves looked remarkably like the anemone cultivars I have in my garden (windflower), but this plant was much smaller and less bushy. But after I got home and did a little investigating, it turns out that this IS an anemone species!

Thimbleweed is a native perennial wildflower in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). The hairy plant has 3-lobed leaves that occur in whorls along the tall stem. At bloomtime, a single, 1-inch white flower appears at the top of the plant on a long stalk. The flower has 5 white sepals (no petals) and numerous stamens that surround a ball of pistils.

The plant gets its name from the green, thimble-like fruit that soon replaces the flower. The fruit is a prickly sphere that measures only about 1-inch long.  It stays on the plant for a long time, and eventually releases cottony seeds that blow away in the wind.

Click on any of the photos below for more detail.

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