Thimbleweed (Tall Anemone)

Anemone virginiana

thimbleweed_12-30-13.jpg

Photo of thimbleweed plant
Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
Family

Ranunculaceae (crowfoots)

Description

Perennial herb with a erect, unbranched stalk. Flowers about 1 inch across, usually 1–3, with 5 off-white or greenish-white sepals (there are no petals). Fruits are densely clustered at the center in a thimble-shaped dome, thus the name “thimbleweed.” Blooms April–August. Leaves 3-divided with deeply cleft and large-toothed leaflets, the basal leaves and the stem leaves on petioles, the basal on very long stems. Fruits when mature are a fluffy, white mass of seeds that often remains on the stalk through the winter.

Size

Height: to 3 feet tall.

Thimbleweed Tall Anemone

A flower with five greenish-white petals around a green thimble-shaped center.
Thimbleweed in Imperial MO.
Habitat and conservation

Occurs in rocky or dry open woods on slopes or in valleys and in prairies.

image of Thimbleweed Tall Anemone distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Human connections

The Missouri Botanical Garden recommends this species for shaded and woodland gardens as well as for naturalized or native-plant gardens. It tolerates dry, shallow, and rocky soils as well as dense shade. Make sure you obtain your plants from reputable nurseries and not from the wild!

Ecosystem connections

Several types of insects collect nectar from the flowers. Apparently the plant is rarely eaten by mammals because of chemicals that irritate the mouth and digestive tract.