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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Ranunculaceae | Anemone

22. Anemone virginiana Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 540. 1753.

Thimbleweed, tall anemone, anémone de Virginie

Aerial shoots 30-100(-110) cm, from caudices, rarely with ascending rhizomes, caudices ascending to vertical. Basal leaves 1-5, ternate; petiole 5-35 cm; terminal leaflet sessile or nearly so, oblanceolate to obovate, 2-9(-12) × 2-5(-7) cm, base cuneate to broadly cuneate, margins coarsely serrate and incised on distal 1/2, apex acuminate to narrowly acute, surfaces pilose, more so abaxially; lateral leaflets usually 1-2×-lobed or -parted, occasionally unlobed; ultimate lobes 10-30(-40) mm wide. Inflorescences (1-)3-9-flowered cymes; peduncle villous; primary involucral bracts 3(-5), secondary involucral bracts 2(-3), (1-)2-tiered, ternate, ±similar to basal leaves, bases distinct; terminal leaflet ±sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate, 2-10(-12) cm (2 cm in secondary involucre) × 2-5(-7) cm, bases cuneate, margins coarsely serrate and incised on distal 1/2, apex acuminate to narrowly acute, surfaces pilose, more so abaxially; lateral leaflets unlobed or 1×-lobed or -parted; ultimate lobes 8-25(-35)mm wide. Flowers: sepals usually 5, green, yellow, or red (rarely white or abaxially green to green-yellow and adaxially green or yellow and tinged red), oblong, ovate, or obovate, 6.5-20 × 2.5-10mm, abaxially hairy, adaxially glabrous or nearly so; stamens 50-70. Heads of achenes oblong-ellipsoid, rarely obconic; pedicel 13-25(-30) cm. Achenes: body obovoid, 2-3.7 × 1.5-2mm, not winged, densely woolly; beak curved, 1-1.5mm, puberulous, not plumose.

Varieties 3 (3 in the flora): North America.

See C. S. Keener et al. (1995) for an analysis of infraspecific variation within Anemone virginiana from which the current treatment has been adopted.

Varieties of Anemone virginiana used medicinally by native Americans were not specified; the species was used as an antidiarrheal, an aid for whooping cough, a stimulant, an emetic, a love potion, a remedy for tuberculosis, and a protection against witchcraft medicine (D. E. Moerman 1986).

1 Sepals usually 5–10mm, abaxially densely tomentose; anthers 0.7–1(–1.2) mm; primarily Canadian, in dry woods, sandy ridges, and grasslands.   22b var. cylindroidea
+ Sepals (6–)10–21 mm, abaxially usually thinly pubescent; anthers (0.8–)1–1.7 mm; widely distributed, in moist habitats.   (2)
2 (1) Base of involucral bracts cordate or reniform, rarely subtruncate, terminal leaflets light green, margins proximally mostly straight- to convex-sided, variously lobed or serrate, variously pubescent; anthers typically greater than 1.1 mm; heads of achenes ovoid to ovoid-cylindric, (9–)11–14 mm diam.; widely distributed.   22a var. virginiana
+ Base of involucral bracts usually truncate to subtruncate, sometimes reniform or cordate, terminal leaflets deep green, margins proximally concave- to straight-sided, distally incised, thinly pubescent; anthers typically less than 1.2 mm; heads of achenes ±ovoid-cylindric, 8–10(–11) mm diam.; distributed primarily in New England, Great Lakes area, and adjacent Canada.   22c var. alba

Lower Taxa


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