Anemone patens (American Pasqueflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Eastern Pasque Flower, Prairie Crocus, Cutleaf Anemone
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry sandy soil; prairies, open woods
Bloom season:March - May
Plant height:3 to 18 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals

[photo of flowers] A single flower 1 to 2 inches across at the top of a densely hairy stalk, with 5 to 7 (typically 6) blue-violet to white petal-like sepals and numerous yellow stamens surrounding a light green columnar center. The sepals are pointed at the tip and lined with numerous parallel veins.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: palmate

[photo of stem leaves] There is a whorl of 3 stalkess leaves just below the flower. All leaves are palmately compound and divided into several narrow segments, generally kidney-shaped in outline.

[photo of basal leaves] A few basal leaves on long stalks emerge after the flowers bloom. Leaves and stems are densely covered in long silky hairs. The stems elongate when the fruit starts developing. A plant often has several stems.


[photo of fruit] Fruit is a seed head covered in pinkish purple feathery plumes up to 1½ inches long, which are the remains of the styles, each attached to a single seed. The plume facilitates dispersal by wind.

[photo of seed] Seeds are 3 to 5 millimeters long, spindle-shaped to elliptic, brown covered in long white hairs.


Pasqueflower is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, often coming up while there is still snow on the ground. Look for it on south facing slopes in dry to average sandy soil, typically in scattered clumps. It does very well as a garden plant. This species also commonly goes by Latin name Pulsatilla patens and less commonly Pulsatilla nuttalliana. There are multiple varieties (or subspecies, depending on the reference) with A. patens var. multifida found in Minnesota and much of North America.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk, taken at the Baxter/Brainerd Northland Arboretum and at Hastings Sand-Coulee SNA in Dakoka County. Additional photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at a private garden in Lino Lakes


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Char - Goodhue County, Hay Creek Township
on: 2011-04-25 12:57:18

Took a hike on our property in Hay Creek on April 24th and found this flower on the south facing hillside of our property. We moved to this location last fall so this is the first time I have seen this wild flower. There were numerous clumps of them on the hill.

Posted by: sharon - Elm Creek Park
on: 2012-04-07 17:44:51

I have a clump growing in a southern exposure in the wooded section of my yard. I have also seen them growing on sandy banks at Elm Creek Park. It is the first to emerge and bloom each spring. I have a nice picture but could not paste it in the comment section. It is a lovely flower and blends with my trilliums quite nicely.

Posted by: Adam - Becker
on: 2012-04-14 15:23:18

Next to the common building, Becker disc golf course.

Posted by: Steve - Red Wing, Barn Bluff
on: 2012-05-02 16:18:53

These are common on the top edges of the bluffs up and down the Mississippi river valley. Probably one of the earliest blooms, sometimes through the snow. They seem like they are pretty hardy, if not for the niche environment.

Posted by: Paul - St. Paul
on: 2014-05-22 23:07:00

Hundreds of pasque flowers were in bloom on the Saturday before Easter on Ottawa Bluffs, LeSueur County, a few miles east of St. Peter.

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