Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa

The wood anemone is a pretty spring flower of ancient woodlands, and is also planted in graveyards, parks and gardens. Its white flowers bloom between March and May before the canopy becomes too dense, but its seeds are mostly infertile and it spreads slowly through the growth of its roots.


An easily recognisable flower, wood anemone is low-growing, with six large, white or purple-streaked ‘petals’ (which are actually its sepals), deeply lobed leaves and a thin, red stem.


Height: up to 25cm




Found throughout the country.

When to see

March – May


  • The wood anemone is named after the Greek wind god, Anemos, who sent his namesakes, the anemones, in early spring to herald his coming. This legend gives the flower its other common name of ‘windflower’.
  • Wood anemone has a sharp, musky smell and is rarely eaten by most animals due to its bad taste. It is also poisonous to humans, although hoverflies seem to be particularly fond of this species.

Common name

Wood anemone

Species name

Anemone nemorosa

IUCN Red List status


When to see in Scotland

March – May

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Falls of Clyde or Pease Dean.

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