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    The plant pictured below has an undisputed beauty but a highly disputed name!  It has been known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.  William Weber calls the plant Pulsatilla ludoviciana, a name given by Heller in 1900 as a modification of Anemone ludoviciana given by Nuttall in 1818 (from a specimen Nuttall collected in 1811 "In elevated plains around the Maha village on the Missouri"). 

But the Flora of North America indicates that according to The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, the names "Pulsatilla ludoviciana" and "Pulsatilla hirsutissima" are illegitimate (because a previously assigned name takes precedence). 

Further FNA indicates:

"Recent phylogenetic analyses of Anemone... indicate that ... Pulsatilla... should be subsumed within [the genus] Anemone".

Therefore, FNA accepts the name "Anemone patens" for the plant pictured below. 

John Kartesz, author of The Synthesis of the Flora of North America, and the ultimate authority for plant names on this web site, also accepts the name "Anemone patens". 

In 1753 Linnaeus, named this genus and species from a specimen collected in Toboliko, Siberia. That taxon is now considered Anemone patens var. patens and our American taxon is considered Anemone patens var. multifida.

"Anemone" is from the Greek for "wind".  "Patens" is Latin for "spreading, open" and may refer to the plant's habit of spreading over large areas and/or to the widely spreading petals, hairs, or seed head. "Multifida" is from the Latin for "many divisions", referring to the leaves.

There are as many common names for Anemone patens as there are scientific names: Pasqueflower, Wild Crocus, Prairie Crocus, Prairie Smoke, Pulsatille.... 

"Pasque" is probably from the Hebrew "paschal", "relating to Passover".  The Pasqueflower begins blooming as soon as the mountain snow melts, about the time of Passover.

Anemone patens
Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills to subalpine. Woodlands, openings.  Spring.
Haviland Lake, April 31, 2008.

Anemone patens is a lovely, very early blooming wildflower well worth searching for.  Flowers emerge before the finely cut leaves and often last for many days as the entire plant develops.  Plants often occur in large colonies.  Your early spring search for Anemone patens will probably get you wet and mucky feet, for the plant is found in the moist of snow melt.  In the summer, these areas are often dry, open, and rocky in the low to high montane forests and meadows.

Pasqueflower is not common in the Four Corners area, occurring primarily in the Abajos of Utah and the foothills and mountains of La Plata County, Colorado.  It is also found through the Rocky Mountains into Canada and Alaska and eastward from the Rockies across the northern tier of states to northern Illinois and Wisconsin. See the map below.

Anemone patens
Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills to subalpine. Woodlands, openings.  Spring.
Haviland Lake, April 31, 2008.

Anemone patens is a lovely work of art from the barely observable bud to the fully opened flower.  Each phase is surrounded by fine leaves which gradually unfold and subtend the flower.

Anemone patens
Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills to subalpine. Woodlands, openings.  Spring.
Haviland Lake, May 23, 2007.

Anemone patens
Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills to subalpine. Woodlands, openings.  Spring.
Chris Park Trail, June 27, 2005.

Plants elongate as they mature and petal-like sepals drop as the maturing seed head becomes a mass of silvery fluff.

Anemone patens

Anemone patens 

Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills to subalpine. Woodlands, openings.  Spring.
Haviland Lake, April 31, 2008.
Chris Park Trail, June 27, 2005.

The fluff (elongated styles), that will carry the seeds on summer breezes is visible even in young flowers in the center of golden yellow pollen.  Eventually the violet petal-like sepals and yellow coated anther sacks will fall away and be replaced by the twisting mass of feathery styles which carry the seeds.

Anemone patens
Anemone patens variety multifida. Synonyms: Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens. (Pasqueflower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Anemone patens

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Anemone patens