Anemone richardsonii : Yellow Wind-flower


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Ranunculaceae (Crowfoot/Buttercup Family)

Genera: Anemone (Wind-flower) (Gk. anemos = wind; possibly referring to the habitat of these plants in exposed windy places)

Species: richardsonii (named for Sir Jonh Richardson 1787-1865, a Scottish naturalist on Franklins expedition to the Arctic)

English Name(s):

Yellow Wind-flower, Yellow Anemone, Richardson's Windflower

First Nation Names:




  • Leaves spaced along the rhizome, long-petioled (stalked), 1-4.5cm long, palmately lobed and margins toothed.
  • Cauline (on stem) leaves 3-parted, sharply toothed, whorled and forming a leafy involucrum (ring) below the flowers.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers single, perfect (bisexual) and of regular symmetry, 1.5-2.5cm in diameter.
  • Sepals petal-like, yellow.
  • Petals lacking.
  • Ovaries superior (above floral parts).


  • Fruiting head subglobose (subshperical) in shape, achenes few.
  • Fruit a dry achene, 3-4mm long, glabrous (hairless), beak slender, 4-6mm long, hooked at apex (tip).

Not to Be Confused With:

  • Can be distinguished by other Anemone (Windflower) species by its yellow flowers. All others in our area are white.
  • Can be distinguished from simmilar Ranunculus (Buttercup) species by its lack of true petals. Butercups clearly have both petals and sepals.



  • The fruits are dispersed by wind, with the hairy style acting as the organ of flight.

Life Cycle:

Seasonal Cycle:

  • plants deciduous from rootstock.
  • Blooms in early to mid-July.


Animal Uses:

  • The flowers of these plants pruduce large amounts of pollen as a reward for insect pollinators, but very little nectar.
  • Apparently Anemone (Windflower) species are not well liked as food by either domestic nor wild animals.


  • Moist herbmats and willow thickets in tundra, heathlands and woods.





  • Plants are used by herbalists to treat abrasions, toothed ache and rheumatism.
  • Plants contain the antibiotics anemonin and protoanemonin which are active against broad-spectrum bacteria.


  • Caution: These plants are related to Delphinium and may cause simmilar poisoning. Anemone are listed as poisonous in many publications.

Traditional Gwich'in:





          Traditional Other:


          • According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, Anemones symbolize berevity and expectation.
          • Greeks legend says a beautiful nymph named Anemone was part of the entourage of chloris the goddess of flowers. She was lusted by the goddess's husband and was turned into a flower.
          • Romans would pick the first Anemone of the year with the incantation "I gather thee for a remedy against disease".
          • Some cultures believed breathing the air tainted by Anemone perfume would cause illness or breathing difficulties.



            • Both Victorians and Romans used these plants to cure sex related difficulties.
            • Roots of these plants were boiled and the decoction was used to treat paralysis, without much effect, and used for rheumatism and melancholy.
            • The cotton from ripe seed heads was burned on hot coals and the smoke was inhaled to relieve headaches.



              Plant in bloom

              Yellow flower top view

              Yellow flower side view


              Illustrated flora of BC

              Range Maps

              World Range: Ampni-Beringian; extending east to northern LB and western Greenland, south to BC and western AB.

              Prov/State Abrev. List

              In Yukon: frequent throughout the territory

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