The narcissus anemone is a white-flowering perennial herb that grows from thick, fibrous rhizomes (ascending caudices). The aerial shoots are 7-60 cm tall (2.75-24 inches). It has 3-10 basal leaves that are ternate (divided into three leaflets) attached by a 4-20 cm long petiole. The leaf blades are deeply lobed, creating long linear segments. Cauline leaves (on the stem) are whorled and create 3, 1-tiered involucral bract. The flower stem is sometimes elongated (separating the bract from the inflorescence). Especially in the early season, the leaves and stem are typically covered in silky hairs, becoming glabrous later in the summer.
The inflorescence has 1-5 flowers (1-3 more common) per stem. The flower does not have petals but instead has 5-9 white or cream-colored, ovate, and petal-like sepals. The sepals often have a bluish tinge, especially on the underside. The flowers are asexual with 40 to 80 yellow stamens with fewer styles in the center. Ovaries are superior (above the flower). The fruit is composed of flat achenes less than 10 mm in length. The achene head is spherical in shape.
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Alaska natives have used the leaves of the narcissus anemone in salads, prepared in oil with other salad greens and beaten to a creamy consistency, or frozen into “ice cream”. The upper ends of the root are boiled or eaten raw. The plants have been used to treat abrasions (as an antihaemorrhagic), toothaches, and joint inflammation (rheumatism).
Plants of the genus Anemone contain protoanemonin, a toxin that can cause itching or blistering of the skin or gastrointestinal distress if eaten such as nausea or vomiting. Protoanemonins break down when the plant is dried, rendering it harmless.
Distribution and Habitat
Anemone narcissiflora is widespread across the northern hemisphere in North America and Eurasia. In North America, it is most common in northwestern Canada and Alaska. There are a few instances found in Colorado, but in Wyoming (and Alberta), it is considered critically imperiled.
It lives in a variety of habitats from wet woodlands to arctic or alpine tundra.
The Kamchatka fritillary, also commonly known as the chocolate lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis) is a brown flowering plant living mostly in coastal areas in Alaska and northwestern North America and coastal...