Anemone multifida cutleaf anemone

Alaska Wildflowers | Very Variable in Color – White, Yellow, or Purple

Anemone multifida cutleaf anemone

Anemone multifida cutleaf anemone

Common Names

anémone multifide
bird’s-foot anemone
cutleaf anemone
cut-leaved anemone
early thimbleweed
Pacific anemone
red windflower

Synonyms

none

It is worth noting that ITIS states that Anemone multifida is a synonym and the accepted name is Anemone patens var. multifida, yet that is a widely accepted synonym of Pulsatilla nuttalliana, the Prairie or American pasqueflower. I find the ITIS taxonomy here confusing as these are fairly distinct species, so I omit using the ITIS classification and stick to VASCAN instead (I’m increasingly going this route).

Subspecies

VASCAN LISTED SUBSPECIES:
Anemone multifida var. multifida
Anemone multifida var. saxicola

FNA LISTED SUBSPECIES:
Anemone multifida var. multifida
Anemone multifida var. saxicola
Anemone multifida var. tetonensis
Anemone multifida var. stylosa

Genus: Anemone
Family: Ranunculaceae (buttercups)
Order: Ranunculales

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

Identification and Information

Anemone multifida, commonly known as cutleaf or cut-leaved anemone, is a perennial herb growing between 10-60 cm tall from ascending to vertical caudices and a woody stem base. It has 3-6 basal leaves, palmately divided 1-3 times, and long hairy on both surfaces, especially the lower.



The inflorescences are 2-7 flowered terminal cymes or solitary flowers. The flower stalks are long and hairy, with 3-5 involucral bracts and occasionally two secondary involucres. The bract leaves are similar to the basal leaves but much smaller. The flowers don’t have petals but only sepals. It has 5-9 sepals that can vary in color, coming in yellow, greenish-yellow, white, purple, or red. They may be differently colored on the top or bottom surfaces, and the abaxial (lower) surfaces may be hairy. Each flower has 50-70 stamens and numerous styles. The fruit is an irregularly elliptic, woolly achene about 3-4 mm long.

The two most widely accepted varieties, var. multifida and var. saxicola, both occur in Alaska. Variety multifida is taller, with aerial shoots ranging from 30 to 70 cm and flowers typically 5-7 in number. The bracts are silky, and the sepals are ovate or oblong. In contrast, the variety saxicola is shorter, with aerial shoots ranging from 10 to 40 cm and flowers typically 2-3 in number. The bracts are villous (covered in long, untangled hairs), and the sepals are elliptic.

Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

Most plants in the Ranunculaceae family (buttercups) are poisonous. They contain protoanemonin and possibly other toxins, which can cause numerous digestive problems and skin irritation.

Traditionally, the cottony flower was burned on hot coals to treat headaches. The Flora of North America provides undetailed uses as an antirheumatic, cold remedy, nosebleed cure, and a means of treating lice and fleas.


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Distribution and Habitat

Map data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), NatureServe Explorer, and Kew

Anemone multifida is primarily a North American species found across Alaska, Canada, and much of the western and northeastern United States. It also inhabits the Patagonia region in Chile and Argentina. While Kew does not list the species range extending beyond the Americas, GBIF records its presence in isolated locations in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, China, and scattered areas in Scandinavia (I did not include Norway and Sweden in my map because GBIF only included single instances from iNaturalist).

It is found in grasslands, shrublands, open forests, rock outcrops, and tundra meadows in lowland to subalpine zones.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae  (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderRanunculanae 
                        OrderRanunculales 
                           FamilyRanunculaceae (buttercups, boutons d’or, crowfoot)
                              GenusAnemone L. (anemone)
                                 SpeciesAnemone multifida

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Pratt, V. E. (1989). Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers: Commonly Seen Along Highways and Byways (p. 65). Alaskakrafts, inc.

Johnson, D., Kershaw, L., & MacKinnon, A. (2020). Plants of the Western Forest: Alaska to Minnesota Boreal and Aspen Parkland (3rd ed., p. 119). Partners Publishing. ISBN 978-1772130591.

Brandenburg, D. M. 2010. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America. Sterling Publishing. (p. 459)

Classification and Taxonomy

Canadensys. (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/8426?lang=en

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=18445#null

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=ANMU

Uses

Native American Ethnobotany Database. (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=anemone+multifida

Map and Distribution

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). (2024). Anemone multifida occurrence map. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://www.gbif.org/occurrence/map?has_coordinate=true&has_geospatial_issue=false&taxon_key=3033252&occurrence_status=present

NatureServe Explorer. (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148072/Anemone_multifida

Plants of the World Online (POWO). (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:330852-2

Description and Information

Flora of North America (FNA). (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Anemone_multifida

Hultén, E. (1968). Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories: A Manual of the Vascular Plants (1st ed.) (pg. 465). Stanford University Press.

E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia. (2024). Anemone multifida. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Anemone%20multifida&redblue=Both&lifeform=7

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