Anemone narcissiflora : Narcissus 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: narcissiflora (Gk. Narkissos= a beautiful youth who pined away for love of his own reflection )

English Name(s):

Narcissus Wind-flower, Narcissus-flowered Anemone

First Nation Names:



  • Plant tufted, herbaceous (not woody) with colourless acrid (bitter) juice.
  • Stems 30-60cm high, sparingly villous (long fine hairs), glabrescent (mostly hairless) in age.
  • From a thick fibrous erect-ascending rhizome (rootstock).


Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers 1-5, perfect (bisexual) and of regular symmetry, on pedicels (stalks) of 1-15cm long.
  • Sepals petal-like, creamy white or blueish tinged, 1.0-1.5cm long.
  • Petals lacking.
  • Ovaries superior (above floral parts).


  • Fruiting head globose (spherical) in shape.
  • Fruit a dry, flat, achene, 6-9mm long, with a narrow wing, glabrous (hairless), blackish green.
  • Styles (female part) when in fruit 0.8-1mm long.

Not to Be Confused With:

  • Anemone multifida (Cut-leaf Windflower) which can be distinguished by its shorter stature and silky-villous achenes.
  • Anemone drummondii (Many-headed Windflower) which can be distinguished by its shorter, densely woolly 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:

  • plants deciduous from rootstock.
  • Finished blooming about second week of 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 sites in woods and heathlands to arctic tundra.





  • 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.


  • Leaves are eaten in salads.
  • Rootstocks are boiled or eaten raw.
  • 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.



            • The Aleut used the plant to make a decoction that is taken to stop bleeding.
            • 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.


            • Early spring growth at the top of the root is sometimes eaten by the people of the Aleutian Islands. It is said to have a waxy, mealy texture and taste.


            Plants in bloom


            Single flower



            Achenes close up

            Illustrated flora of BC

            Range Maps

            World Range: Amphi-Beringian; extending across AK and YT to western NWT, south to northern BC. Disjunct to CO, and WY.

            Prov/State Abrev. List

            In Yukon: Found throughout the Territory

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