From the classical Greek anemos — wind.
Perennial herbs, occasionally slightly woody, with rhizomatous, fleshy or woody roots. Basal leaves stalked, usually lobed, dissected or sometimes compound. Stem leaves occasionally stalkless, often forming packed clusters either just beneath the flowers or at some distance. Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric, solitary or in clusters, saucer to cup-shaped. Perianth segments 5 or more, petal-like, white, yellow, blue, purple or red, occasionally mixed. Stamens numerous. Carpels numerous, free, each with 1 ovule. Fruit a cluster of achenes.
Cultivated for over 400 years and presumed to be the biblical 'lilies of the field'. The genus is generally divided horticulturally into three groups: low, tuberous bedding plants; floristry species; tall herbaceous perennials.
A. rivularis DC. from India and SW China has hairless achenes, leaves that are cut into 3 deep lobes and white flowers suffused blue-violet outside. A. virginiana L., the summer flowering Thimbleweed from N America, is occasionally cultivated; it has stalked leaves just below the flowers and basal leaves with 3-5 undivided segments.
Seeds or division of tubers.
Flowers with 3 sepal-like bracts below them; unlike Pulsatilla the styles are short and there are no nectar-secreting sterile stamens.
about 200 species, cosmopolitan but mainly in the northern hemisphere and mostly montane.
Brickell (1989), McKendrick (1990), Van Scheepen (1991).
This key is a guide only, as the range of available species and cultivars is variable.
Source: (1997). Ranunculaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.