Eranthis

Eranthis is a tuberous genus in the Ranunculaceae family from Europe and Asia. The species have yellow or white cup-shaped flowers over a whorl of dissected leaves. They all need cool growing conditions as they are woodland or mountain plants. They are good choices for naturalizing in semi-shade where they will not be disturbed.


Eranthis cilicica and Eranthis hyemalis are sometimes considered to be conspecific, but as garden plants they are distinct. E. cilicica blooms after E. hyemalis has finished. Photographed by Jim McKenney in his USDA zone 7 Maryland garden where E. cilicica seems much more sensitive to summer moisture than E. hyemalis.

Eranthis cilicica, Jim McKenney

Eranthis hyemalis is commonly known as Winter Aconite. It is a native of European woods with yellow flowers. It is common to see spectacular patches where they have been left alone to spread through areas covered with stone chippings. Flowering occurs early in the year, only just later than the snowdrops. In his magnum work on seed germination (see HowToGrowBulbsFromSeed) Norman Deno picked this species as an exemplar of seed that will not stand dry storage, requires a warm period to break down germination inhibiting chemicals and will germinate at low temperatures (40 °F). It will only keep growing as long as it is cold and since success depends on keeping seedlings growing as long as possible it is wise to avoid exposing plant pots to the sun. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Eranthis hyemalis, John LonsdaleEranthis hyemalis, John Lonsdale

Photos by David Pilling of plants grown from seed that was supplied dry (about three years from seed to flower) growing in a 5 inch plant pot. Photo 1 shows emerging flowers; photo 4 is of a dormant tuber in May; results from planting dried tubers are often poor. Photo 5 of a seed pod photo was taken on the 21st March 2013 and photo 6 on the 10th May 2013 (10 mm grid).

Eranthis hyemalis, 29th December 2013, David PillingEranthis hyemalis, David PillingEranthis hyemalis, David PillingEranthis hyemalis tuber, David PillingEranthis hyemalis seed pods, 21st March 2013, David PillingEranthis hyemalis seed pods, 10th May 2013, David Pilling

Photographs of the resulting seed on a 1 mm grid; the seed was kept moist after collection at outside temperatures and began to germinate at the end of December 2013.

Eranthis hyemalis seed, 1 mm grid, David PillingEranthis hyemalis seed, 1 mm grid, 7th January 2014, David PillingEranthis hyemalis seedlings, 27th February 2014, David Pilling

Eranthis hyemalis 'Aurantiaca' is a cultivar with flowers that are more golden than yellow. Photos from John Lonsdale.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Aurantiaca', John LonsdaleEranthis hyemalis 'Aurantiaca', John Lonsdale

Eranthis hyemalis 'Gothenburg' is a semi double cultivar. Photos from John Lonsdale.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Gothenburg', John LonsdaleEranthis hyemalis 'Gothenburg', John Lonsdale

Time lapse video by David Pilling taken between 12:46 and 17:28 on Monday 10th February 2014, shows flowers opening and closing in response to the changing temperature.


Eranthis pinnatifida is a native of Japan where it is found in mountain woods. It has small white flowers. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Eranthis pinnatifida, John LonsdaleEranthis pinnatifida, John Lonsdale

Eranthis stellata is from China, North Korea and eastern Russia where it is found in forests and woodlands. It blooms early spring. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Eranthis stellata, John LonsdaleEranthis stellata, John Lonsdale

Eranthis x tubergenii is the name given for hybrids of Eranthis hyemalis and Eranthis cilicica. These two species hybridize to produce vigorous sterile plants with large flowers. The first four photos are from John Lonsdale and the last two are from Rodger Whitlock.

Eranthis x tubergenii, John LonsdaleEranthis x tubergenii, John LonsdaleEranthis x tubergenii, John LonsdaleEranthis x tubergenii, John LonsdaleEranthis x tubergenii, Rodger WhitlockEranthis x tubergenii, Rodger Whitlock

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Page last modified on March 02, 2014, at 06:22 PM