Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Anemone nemerosa, the European wood anemone, comes in a dizzying variety of different flower forms and colors; apparently the species is quite adept at genetic variation. In northern Europe, collecting these different varieties is quite popular, but unfortunately only a small number are available commercially in this country. Americans mainly like their flowers big and splashy, and these subtle little (4 inch tall) plants easily get lost. I planned to do a pictorial feature on the varieties we grow in our garden, but the severe freeze we just went through, damaged them. The above picture is of Anemone nemerosa Stammerberg; it also shows a little freeze damage, but I still thought I'd show it, as it is so... well, odd. It was discovered by Matthias Thomsen, of Germany, while out plant exploring in the woods; it is a double flower, but he describes it as a bracteoid double. That is, it doesn't have a doubling of true petals, but rather the petals have converted into multiple bractlike structures, so the flower is off white, with infusions of pink and green; it looks like it is made of feathers.
Seen from a distance, it just looks odd, but when you look at it up close, it is quite lovely. It really brings home that flowers are modified leaves; in this case the flower seems to be just forming...Venus coming out of the ocean. Matthias Thomsen posts and shows a lot of plants from what must be a wonderful garden, on the Garden Buddies message board.