Eranthis is a genus of about 10 species of tuberous perennials in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe and Asia.
These low-growing plants are among the most striking winter flowers and one of the earliest bulbs to bloom in spring, often appearing alongside Snowdrops. The cup-shaped flowers are yellow or white, distinct and quite unusual, supported by divided leafy bracts. They are easy to maintain and can survive snow and frost. These early-bloomers are great for beds and borders, and will look beautiful planted in large drifts under trees. They are suitable for rock gardens, cottage gardens and as a groundcover.
The genus name comes from the Greek words“er”, meaning “spring” and “anthos”, which means “flower”, in reference to the early-blooming nature of this plant.
The common name “Winter Aconite” comes from the resemblance of the leaves to those of the related genus Aconitum.
Unlike Aconitum, Winter Aconite does not appear to be poisonous.
Eranthis symbolizes hope, rebirth and new beginnings, as it is one of the earliest flowers of spring.
Interesting facts about Eranthis:
Is Eranthis Poisonous?
In spite of much anecdotal information, there are no scientific reports of its toxicological properties. However, ingestion may cause mild stomach upset.
Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
This lovely native European woodland plant is a beauty to add to any garden. It typically blooms in mid-winter to early spring, producing a bright display of golden yellow buttercup-like flowers. The leaves are basal and divided into many leaflets. These herbaceous perennials grow only to about 15 cm (6 inches) tall. They often pop up through the snow, providing nectar for the season’s early bees and pollinators.
Winter Aconites prefer rich, moist and well drained soil. Grow them in partial shade to shield them from all-day sun. These plants look wonderful under trees and in rough grass, and will quickly spread and form a beautiful yellow carpet. They are excellent for rock gardens, beds and woodland gardens. They combine well with Snowdrops, Crocuses, Cyclamens and other early bulbs.
There are many cultivars of Winter Aconite that are wonderful, including ‘All Saints’ , ‘Dooze’, ‘Eberhard Fluche’, ‘EgonTreff’, ‘Flore Pleno’, ‘Gothenburg’, ‘Grünling’, ‘Lightning’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Orange Glow’, ‘Pauline’, ‘Ruth Treff’, ‘Schlyters Orange’ and ‘Schwefelglanz’.
The flowers are yellow in most species, with some species being white flowered.
These low growing plants can reach a maximum height of 20 cm (8 inches), but usually they are much smaller.
The plant is adaptable to a wide variety of soils, as long as they are well drained. It tolerates most types of soils including loam, clay, chalk and sand.