Japanese Thimbleweed Anemone flaccida
Anemone flaccida, commonly known as thimbleweed or thimble flower, is a perennial plant that creates an elegant appearance in gardens and wild settings alike. This plant is characterized by its beautiful and delicate flowers, which are usually white or pale pink, with a touch of yellow at the center where the stamen and pistils lie. The petals radiate from the center, creating a cup or thimble-like shape, hence its common name. The foliage of the thimbleweed consists of deeply lobed leaves, which provide an attractive textured backdrop for the flowers. The leaves may vary in shade from bright green to a darker, almost bluish-green hue. The plant often grows in clumps, with the leaves arranged at the base of the plant, forming a ground cover from which the flower stems emerge. The flowers are typically held aloft on slender stalks, giving them a gentle, swaying motion in the breeze. Each flower is gracefully poised at the end of its stalk, appearing delicate to the touch. The bloom time of thimbleweed usually occurs in the spring, when the plant reveals its full splendor with an abundant floral display. Thimbleweeds are also known for their underground structures, referred to as rhizomes, which allow them to spread and form dense patches. These rhizomes help the plant to thrive in its preferred habitats, which are often moist and wooded areas. In summary, thimbleweed is marked by its white to pale pink cup-shaped flowers, deeply lobed leaves, and its ability to create a ground cover with its foliage. The plant imparts a natural and soft aesthetic to the spaces it occupies, primarily during its springtime flowering season.
About this plant
Thimbleweed, Windflower, Anemone.
Anemonoides flaccida, Anemonastrum flaccidum, Anemone flaccida var. kawakamii.
The common name for Anemone flaccida is thimbleweed. Thimbleweed contains toxic compounds, particularly protoanemonin, which can cause skin irritation and is poisonous if ingested. In humans, ingestion can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and salivation. In severe cases, it could potentially cause respiratory problems, paralysis, or convulsions. Handling the plant may result in skin irritation or dermatitis.
Thimbleweed is also toxic to pets due to protoanemonin and other compounds. If pets ingest this plant, they might exhibit symptoms similar to humans, including gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. In severe cases, ingestion can cause tremors, seizures, or respiratory failure. External contact can cause redness, swelling, and irritation on the skin or mucous membranes.
Color of leaves
0.5 feet (15 cm)
1 foot (30 cm)
- General Benefits
- Aesthetic Appeal: Anemone flaccida, commonly known as the thimbleweed, adds beauty to gardens with its delicate white flowers and attractive foliage.
- Pollinator Attraction: Thimbleweed flowers can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, thus contributing to the biodiversity of the garden.
- Easy to Grow: Thimbleweed is known for being adaptable and easy to care for, making it a suitable choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.
- Seasonal Interest: With its spring blooms, thimbleweed provides a seasonal interest in gardens that can help signal the arrival of warmer weather.
- Medical Properties
- Anti-inflammatory: Anemone flaccida has been traditionally used to reduce inflammation.
- Analgesic: It is also used for its pain-relieving properties.
- Antirheumatic: The plant has been reported to be used in the treatment of rheumatic pain.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Anemone flaccida is often used in traditional Japanese gardens for its aesthetic appeal, where the subtle beauty of its delicate white flowers contributes to the serene atmosphere.
- The plant is cultivated for ornamental purposes in shady or woodland garden settings, offering a natural, woodland aesthetic that can soften landscape designs.
- Its rhizomes can be used for propagation to create naturalized plantings in suitable habitats, helping gardeners replicate a wildflower meadow effect.
- Florists sometimes incorporate Anemone flaccida in wedding bouquets or spring arrangements to provide a soft and whimsical touch to their floral designs.
- In crafting, the dried seed heads of Anemone flaccida can be used, as they have an interesting texture and shape, adding an organic element to handmade crafts.
- This plant's ability to spread can be employed in erosion control for certain landscapes, where it can help hold soil in place with its root system.
- Anemone flaccida can be planted under deciduous trees to create seasonal interest, as their flowering time coincides with the light availability before the trees fully leaf out.
- Photographers and artists may use Anemone flaccida as a subject in their work, capturing the essence of early spring with its gentle blooms.
- This species can play an integral role in the survival of early-season pollinators by providing an important nectar source when few other flowers are in bloom.
- Enthusiasts of phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, may use the emergence and blooming of Anemone flaccida to track climate change and ecological shifts in certain regions.
- Feng Shui
The plant Anemone flaccida, commonly known as the Thimbleweed, is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The plant Thimbleweed is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Fragility: The Anemone flaccida, being delicate in nature, often represents frailty and the ephemeral nature of life.
- Anticipation: In the language of flowers, anemones can signify anticipation, mirroring the plant's behavior as it closes at night and opens with the morning light.
- Protection: Anemones are also sometimes associated with protection or a ward against evil, originating from the Greek myth that the anemone was created by the goddess Aphrodite to protect her love Adonis.
- Lost love and forsakenness: Due to their mythological history, these flowers can symbolize the loss of a loved one or a love that is not returned.
Anemone flaccida, also known as the thimbleweed, prefers consistent moisture, therefore it is important to water it whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. In general, this will mean watering once or twice a week, depending on local climate conditions and the time of year. Use roughly one gallon of water per plant, ensuring that you moisten the soil thoroughly without causing standing water which can lead to root rot. During the growing season in spring and summer, the thimbleweed may need more frequent watering due to increased growth and warmer temperatures. It's critical to reduce watering in the autumn as the plant prepares for dormancy.
Thimbleweed thrives best in partial shade conditions, where it can be shielded from the harsh midday sun. Ideal placement is where the plant can receive dappled sunlight or light shade, such as under the canopy of tall trees or on the north side of buildings where they can avoid the direct afternoon sun. This ensures that the thimbleweed receives enough light without being subjected to stress from overexposure.
Thimbleweed can endure a range of temperatures, ideally growing in environments where the average falls between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can survive minimum temperatures down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum temperatures up to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For optimal growth, maintain a stable temperature within the ideal range, avoiding sudden temperature fluctuations.
Pruning thimbleweed is essential to maintain plant health and control its spreading growth habit. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Cut back dead or damaged foliage and stems, and thin out overcrowded areas to improve air circulation. Pruning can be done yearly to keep the plants looking tidy and to encourage robust new growth.
The best soil mix for the Thimbleweed (Anemone flaccida) should be rich in organic matter, hold moisture well, and yet be well-draining to prevent root rot. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging between 5.5 to 7.0. A mixture of two parts loam, one part peat, and one part sharp sand or perlite is ideal for this plant.
Thimbleweed (Anemone flaccida) does not need frequent repotting and can thrive in the same pot for several years. It should be repotted only when the plant has outgrown its current container, typically every 2-3 years, to refresh the soil and provide space for growing roots.
- Humidity & Misting
Thimbleweed (Anemone flaccida) prefers a moderate humidity level, consistent with what is typically found in a woodland setting. Striving for a humidity level around 60% is ideal for this plant but it can tolerate slight variations in household humidity levels.
- Suitable locations
Grow Thimbleweed with bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.
Plant Thimbleweed in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.
- Life cycle
Anemone flaccida, commonly known as the thimbleweed, starts its cycle as a seed, which germinates in damp, shaded soil typically in the spring. After germination, it develops a rosette of leaves and a short stem that supports the growth of its roots and shoots. As it matures, thimbleweed produces a tall stem with trifoliate leaves and a single white or pale pink flower that blooms from late spring to early summer. Once pollinated, usually by insects, the flower gives way to a cluster of dry, woolly fruits known as achenes. These achenes disperse, often with the help of wind, to colonize new areas where they can germinate and start a new cycle. The plant goes dormant in the late autumn or winter, surviving underground as a rhizome until the next growing season.
Late winter-early spring
For Anemone flaccida, commonly known as the thimbleweed anemone, division is the most popular method of propagation. This process is best done in the fall after the plant has finished flowering or in the spring before new growth begins. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant, ensuring as much of the root system as possible is intact. Gently separate the plant into smaller clumps, each having at least one growing point or shoot. Replant these divisions immediately into well-draining soil, spacing them about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow room for growth. Water the new divisions well to establish them. This method is favored because it helps to maintain the vigor of the thimbleweed anemone and can quickly multiply the number of plants in a garden.