Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis Cilicica Group

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
winter aconite Cilicica Group


Commonly known as winter aconite, this charming perennial plant is one of the earliest to flower in the year, often signaling the end of winter. It bears bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers, which are surrounded by a distinctive green collar that looks somewhat like a ruffled collar of green leaves just beneath the blossom. This collar is formed by leaf-like bracts. The true leaves are typically not seen until after the flowers have bloomed; they are green, divided, and basal, forming a low-growing canopy above the ground after the flowering period has ended. The flowers exhibit a glossy sheen and have a striking, bold color that catches the eye against the bare soil or snow. The appeal of winter aconite is in its early bloom and the cheerful brightness it brings to otherwise bare gardens at the end of the cold season.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Aconite, Winter Hellebore

    • Common names

      Eranthis cilicica, Eranthis hyemalis var. cilicica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter aconite is a plant that can be toxic to humans if ingested. The plant contains several toxic compounds, including alkaloids such as ranunculin that can release protoanemonin when the plant material is crushed or chewed. If ingested, symptoms of poisoning may include gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, the toxicity can lead to dizziness, spasms, paralysis, and, though rare, can be fatal if enough plant material is consumed. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately if ingestion is suspected.

    • To pets

      Winter aconite is also toxic to pets. Similar to humans, the plant contains toxic alkaloids that can cause harm when any part of the plant is ingested. Symptoms of poisoning in pets may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In more severe cases, pets may experience tremors, seizures, or even collapse. Serious cases of winter aconite poisoning can be life-threatening for pets, warranting immediate veterinary attention.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      0 feet 4 inches (10 cm)

    • Spread

      0 feet 6 inches (15 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Early Bloom: Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite) flowers in late winter, providing vibrant color when most plants are dormant.
    • Pollinator-Friendly: Its early blooms offer nectar and pollen for early-emerging pollinators such as bees.
    • Low Maintenance: Winter Aconite requires minimal upkeep once established in a suitable environment.
    • Naturalizing: It has the ability to spread and create natural drifts or clusters over time, enhancing garden aesthetics.
    • Cold Hardy: It is tolerant of cold winter temperatures, making it suitable for gardens in cooler climates.
    • Ground Cover: Its low-growing habit helps to suppress weeds and cover bare spots in the garden.
    • Decorative Seed Pods: After flowering, the plant produces ornamental seed pods that add interest to the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Eranthis hyemalis Cilicica Group, commonly known as Winter aconite, can provide early forage for pollinators such as bees, which are active during unseasonably warm winter days.
    • The bright yellow flowers of Winter aconite can be used in floral arrangements as a symbol of anticipation and hope for the coming spring.
    • The plant can be used in education to study the effects of climate change, as it blooms during winter and is sensitive to temperature changes.
    • Winter aconite's distinctive tuberous roots can be studied in botany for their survival strategies in cold climates.
    • The plant is ideal for creating naturalized drifts in woodland gardens, as it can spread easily under deciduous trees and shrubs.
    • Winter aconite can be part of sensory gardens because its early flowers add vibrant color and interest at a time when other plants are not yet in bloom.
    • As an early blooming plant, Winter aconite can be used in phenological gardens to track the progress of seasons and climate-related changes.
    • The ground-covering nature of Winter aconite can be used to protect soil from erosion in sloped or bare areas during late winter and early spring.
    • Winter aconite bulbs can serve as a learning tool for bulb forcing and understanding the growth cycles of perennials in horticultural classes.
    • In literature and poetry, Winter aconite can symbolize perseverance and resilience, as it is one of the first plants to bloom despite the harsh conditions of winter.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Winter aconite is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Winter aconite is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: As one of the first flowers to bloom at the end of winter, Eranthis hyemalis, commonly known as Winter Aconite, is often associated with hope and the anticipation of new beginnings that arrive with spring.
    • Resilience: The ability of Winter Aconite to push through the frozen ground and thrive in cold temperatures symbolizes resilience and the power to overcome challenges.
    • Renewal: Winter Aconite's emergence as winter wanes symbolizes renewal and the cycle of life, growth, and rejuvenation that is seen in the transition from season to season.
    • Optimism: The cheerful yellow bloom of the Winter Aconite is symbolic of optimism and joy, embodying a positive outlook as the days grow longer and warmer.
    • Courage: Winter Aconite's symbolism extends to courage because of its early bloom time, facing the potential of frost and snow with a seemingly fearless stance.

When soil dries out
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early spring
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Winter aconite requires moderate watering during its active growing season, typically in late winter to early spring. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which may be once per week, depending on environmental conditions. Apply water directly to the soil to avoid wetting the foliage, using approximately 1 to 2 gallons for an average-sized plant or cluster. During the summer, when the plant is dormant, reduce watering significantly, and ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent bulb rot.

  • sunLight

    Winter aconite thrives best in partial shade, ideally under deciduous trees that provide dappled sunlight. The best spot for this plant would be one where it receives morning light and afternoon shade or a location with filtered sunlight throughout the day. It can tolerate full sun in cooler climates but requires protection from the intense afternoon sun in warmer regions.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter aconite is a cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°F, making it suitable for USDA hardiness zones 3 through 7. It performs best when the temperature is between 35°F and 65°F, typically during the late winter to early spring months. The plant prefers cool conditions and may struggle or go dormant during hot summer temperatures above 75°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter aconite does not require regular pruning. However, after blooming, you can remove spent flower heads to encourage a tidy appearance and prevent self-seeding if desired. The foliage should be left to die back naturally, as it replenishes the bulb's nutrients for the next growing season. Pruning is minimal and only needed to remove dead or yellowing leaves once they have fully withered, typically by late spring.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    For winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis Cilicica Group), the best soil mix is well-draining, humus-rich, and loamy. It prefers slightly alkaline to neutral pH, between 7.0 and 7.5. Incorporating organic matter like compost or leaf mold into the soil will enhance its structure and fertility, providing an ideal environment for the plant's growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter aconite bulbs do not require frequent repotting and can thrive undisturbed for several years. Generally, repotting or dividing clumps is only necessary if they become overcrowded or if you wish to propagate them. This might be done every 3 to 5 years, typically after the foliage has died back in late spring or early summer.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter aconite prefers outdoor conditions and is not particularly humidity-sensitive. In its natural habitat, it experiences winter and early spring humidity levels, which are typically higher due to cooler temperatures and increased rainfall. No specific humidity requirements need to be maintained for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in a cool room with bright, indirect light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, in fertile, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis Cilicica Group) typically emerges in late winter to early spring, first revealing its glossy green leaves and bright yellow flowers as the snow begins to melt. After blooming, the flowers give way to seed pods, and the plant proceeds to store energy in its underground tuber for the next season. As spring progresses, the leaves will photosynthesize to replenish the tuber, and by late spring or early summer, the foliage dies back and the plant enters a period of dormancy. During the dormant period, the tuber rests beneath the soil until the following winter. In the next growing season, the cycle restarts as the tuber sends up new shoots when temperatures begin to rise. The plant reproduces primarily by these tubers and, less frequently, by dispersing the seeds produced by the flowers.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • Propogation: Winter aconites, belonging to the Eranthis hyemalis Cilicica Group, are most commonly propagated by dividing their tubers. This process is ideally done in the summer after the plants have finished flowering and the foliage has died back. The tubers should be dug up carefully to avoid damage, then gently pulled apart to separate them, making sure that each division has at least one growth point. The individual tubers can then be immediately replanted about 2-3 inches (approximately 5-7.6 centimeters) deep and spaced around 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) apart in a location that offers partial shade and well-draining soil. Water the newly planted tubers generously to encourage root development.