a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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What colour is a white wood anemone?

The butterfly path leads through the woods.  On either side are wild flowers, hence the butterflies at this time of year and the bees and bumble bees and lots more if you stop and look.  That’s just it, you have to stop and look.

You can take a deep breath, look all around and get the general impression of the pleasant woodland scene but it is not until you really look that you see things.

For one thing there are the wild anemones.  I have always loved anemones and to find so many growing wild never ceases to thrill.  They grow in ones and two’s by the side of the path and then spread out into clearings that they have colonised, taking advantage of the extra sunlight.

The species most commonly found in the UK and europe is Anemone nemorosa, the wood anemone.  They are usually white and in fact I had never seen any other colour until my eye was drawn to a particular patch enjoying the spring sunshine.

From a distance I thought it might be some other flower, a vinca perhaps.  But no, it was a coloured anemone and the more I looked the more different forms I found.

Pale blue anemone.

Pink anemone.

The differences in the flowers were subtle like the pink veining in a mainly white anemone.

Lilac anemone.

The wood anemone generally has six petals but here I found double flowers.

Double white anemone

I have done a little research and my anemones are not unique, unusual but not unique.  The wood anemone, anemone nemorosa, does occur in shades of pink and blue and lilac and can have variations in the number of petals.

Why does this particular patch carry such a high rate of mutation?  Last spring was particularly warm and sunny, did they get more U.V. radiation?  The soil is limestone so I cannot imagine much natural radiation from the soil. Is it down to sheer chance?

Whatever the reason I was thrilled to note the variation and I will keep my eye on this patch next year.