Anemone multifida : Cut-leaf 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: multifida

English Name(s):

Cut-leaf Wind-flower, Cut-leaved Anemone

First Nation Names:



  • Plant tufted, herbaceous (not woody) with colourless acrid (bitter) juice.
  • Stems 20-40cm or more high, silky-villous (llong fine hairs).
  • From a strong many-headed taproot.


Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers perfect (bisexual) and of regular symmetry, solitary or rarely 2 or 3, on long erect peduncles (stalks).
  • Sepals petal-like, oblong to oval in shape, 5-10mm long, creamy white or sometimes red or purpleish.
  • Petals lacking.
  • Styles (femle part) 0.7-1.2mm long.
  • Ovaries superior (above floral parts).


  • Fruiting heads globose to short-cylindric in shape.
  • Fruit a dry achene, 3-4mm long.

Not to Be Confused With:

  • Anemone drummondii (Many-headed Windflower) which can be distinguished by its shorter stature and always solitary flower.
  • Anemone narcissiflora (Narcissus Windflower) which can be distinguished by its elongated, glabrous achenes.
  • Anemone parviflora (Arctic Windflower) which can be distinguished by its rhizomatous (underground stems) rather than tufted nature.



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

Life Cycle:

Seasonal Cycle:


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.


  • A variable species common on gravelly calcareous slopes, riverbanks, lakeshores, and disturbed situations.





  • 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 (USDA; The PLANTS database)

              Illustrated flora of BC

              Range Maps

              World Range: North American; from NL to eastern AK, south to NY, MN, NM, and CA

              Prov/State Abrev. List

              In Yukon: North to 64.30'N

              To Top Of Page