Life Gets in the Way, But Here is an Anemone

It has been a while. Thanksgiving and then Christmas preparations have sidelined the wildflower charting, but I did manage to finish some Anemones.

Anemones, or Windflowers, belong to the buttercup family or Ranunculaceae They have the divided leaves, many not-united pistils, and many stamens common to the family. They are unusual, though in not having any petals. Instead, the sepals are petal-like and showy. How do botanists know that the parts are sepals and not petals? I’m not sure, but in the 1800s German botanist really studied plant anatomy, down to seeds and hairs and pollen, and by looking at various groups of plants in all stages of development, tracking the fate of individual groups of cells, they figured out that where only one whorl of perianth (collective term for petals and sepals) is present, it’s sepals.

There are many showy varieties of garden anemones, like this one:

(Creative Commons License, photographer Llez)

The two species found locally are less showy but just as pretty. This is Anemone berlandieri.

The sepals can range anywhere from white to lavender to intense blue or purple. They’re much less colorful underneath and the flowers open mid-morning. You can walk through a whole patch of them when the flowers are closed and not notice them. But when they’re open, they’re lovely. The green column in the center is a tall receptacle on which the tiny individual pistils are located.

Anemone berlandieri can be recognized by how the involucre (whorl of leaf-like bracts) on the flowering stem is borne above the center of the stem, and by how the bracts of the involucre look different from the true leaves. The leaflets of the true leaves are less finely divided, as can be seen in this herbarium specimen. (Note that the stalks of the individual leaves may be longer or shorter.)

In contrast, Anemone caroliniana has the involucre below the middle of the flowering stem, and it is about as divided as the leaves. There are differences in the hairiness of the stem and rootstock as well.

I charted A. berlandieri as a plant in full, fresh flower.

The small flower in the upper right shows how the stamens would be put on with backstitch:

The shaded sepals are charted in three colors of floss, but if one was very careful, starting each sepal at the same point in the variegation, it might be possible to use variegated floss.

It doesn’t really show, but the lower right leaf is charted for a blended thread, one shade of green and one of purple. Why? Because the leaves can sometimes have a purply-bronze cast:

A stitcher would be free, of course, to make the leave entirely green. When stitching over one, a choice between green and purple would need to be made. As far as I know, Gerda never called for blended threads, since her designs were meant for one strand of Danish Flower Thread, so this is a real departure from the norm.

I charted a second plant, this time A. caroliniana, at the gone-to-seed stage. At maturity, each tiny separate pistil matures into a fuzzy achene and the whole mass breaks up and the fruits float away:

My plant has lost its sepals and petals and the achenes are fuzzy-grayish, but they’re not yet flying away.

I’m reasonably happy with this pair. They’re recognizable as anemones, and even with my scandalous notions of variegated floss and blended threads, they’re not too far off Gerda’s garden path.


One thought on “Life Gets in the Way, But Here is an Anemone

  1. You are so careful to be specific and accurate. Truth be told, not many people would know the difference. I bow to your careful attention to detail.


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