Sunday, April 6, 2014

The daughter of the winds

The name anemone, which is derived from Greek, literally means 'the daughter of the winds' and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed that spring winds were essential to bring anemones into flower. You certainly need a still, windless day to photograph these  delightful spring flowers, that shiver on their slender stalks if there is the slightest breeze. 

Wood anemones are grow very slowly, spreading via creeping rhizomes, so woodlands with large patches of this flower are likely to be very old. It sets few viable seeds and spreads at a rate of about six feet in one hundred years, according to Richard Mabey in his Flora Britannica. It's plants like this that highlight the foolishness of the government's proposed practice of allowing developers to 'offset' destruction of  old-established woodlands by planting new ones on open fields.  Assuming it was possible, it would take centuries to replicate the drifts of wood anemones that are one of the defining features of ancient woodlands.

This seems to have been an exceptionally good spring for wood anemone, with some wonderful displays in woodlands in Weardale and Teesdale.


  1. I remember finding a patch of Wood Anemone in Teesdale (I can't remember exactly where now) whilst out on an RSPB trip. They were no where near woodland, but I assume that there must have been woodland there in the past and that the anemones just kept growing there.
    Couldn't agree more about the foolish government proposal. One foolish proposal of many in recent times. Cheers. Brian.

    1. That's interesting Brian, I've seen it growing amongst bracken in what must once have been woodland. All the best,Phil