Anemone virginiana (Tall Thimbleweed)
|Also known as:||Virginia Anemone|
|Habitat:||part shade; dry open woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||12 to 40 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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2 to 8 long-stalked flowers arising from a whorl of leaves at the top of the stem, sometimes with a pair of leaf-like bracts about midway up a stalk. Individual flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across with 5 pointed, hairy, greenish white, petal-like sepals and numerous yellowish stamens around a bulbous green center. Flower stalks are hairy.
There are basal leaves and a whorl of 3 to 5 leaves about midway up the stem, all of similar shape, palmately compound in groups of 3. The basal leaves have long stalks and are a little larger than the stem leaves. Leaflets are deeply lobed in 3 to 5 parts, toothless, hairy, to 2½ inches long; the outer lobes are toothed on the tip half and somewhat oval.
Tall Thimbleweed is easily confused with Thimbleweed (Anemone cylindrica). The best way I've found to tell them apart is by the shape of the leaves. Thimbleweed leaflets are wedge-shaped at the base with the lobes fanning out. The outer lobes of Tall Thimbleweed leaflets are more rounded with teeth along the tip half. Thimbleweed also rarely grows taller than 2 feet and has cones up to 1½ inches long, where Tall Thimbleweed can reach nearly 4 feet and its cones are usually under 1 inch long. There are 3 recognized varieties of A. virginiana, all of which may be found in Minnesota: var. cylindroidea has the smallest flowers and sepals densely covered in matted hairs, var. alba has sparsely hairy sepals and stem leaves that are mostly straight across the base, var. virginiana has sparsely hairy sepals and stem leaves that are mostly heart to kidney-shaped at the base. Where the varieties are concerned, a point of confusion is which vars are where in Minnesota. According to Flora of North America, var. virginiana should be the most common here and var. alba should be limited to riparian areas and cliffs in the counties bordering Wisconsin, but both the DNR's county information and Bell Herbarium records put var. alba across the state and the most common var in MN. The cloud of confusion will resolve itself eventually...
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Wild River State Park, Chisago County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?