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ERANTHIS hyemalis

Image of Eranthis hyemalis

Jessie Keith

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

ERANTHIS hyemalis

Plant Common Name

Winter Aconite

General Description

Dappling the ground with sunny blooms very early in the year, this little perennial from southern Europe and Asia Minor is a delightful garden presence in winter and early spring. Arising on short stems from a knobbly tuber, the yellow, saucer-shaped blooms perch atop a ruff-like whorl of three deeply dissected leaves. They bloom with the first hints of spring, opening their flowers wide in sunlight, and attracting bees with their honeyed scent. The tubers also give rise to palmately lobed basal leaves. Plants in the Cilica Group (also known as Eranthis cilicica) have slightly larger flowers and a frillier, bronze-tinged ruff. All growth disappears by the end of spring. Plants self-sow where happy, eventually forming large colonies.

Winter aconite thrives in partial shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. Scatter seed when it ripens in late spring, or plant tubers shallowly as soon as possible after they are harvested, while they are still plump. Shrivelled tubers can be stored in moist potting mix and planted if they plump up without rotting. Use this beautiful little spring ephemeral in masses, intermixed with snowdrops, hellebores, witch hazels, and other early-blooming plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Width

    3"-4" / 7.6cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Turkey, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes