Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

100 Flowers : #005 Winter Aconite

Isn't it amazing when small perfect little flowers emerge through the decaying leaves, I been waiting and checking and then suddenly there they were flowering under the shrubs in the garden . . .

#005 : Eranthis hyemalis

Winter Aconite 

The common name, Aconite, is misleading because they aren't related to the family of extremely poisonous Aconitum plants; I found comflicting information about whether Winter Aconites are poisonous or not, but I wouldn't recommend that you try! Someone obviously thought the leaves of both plants looked similar and the name stuck.

The botanical name's meaning is very boring indeed . . .
Eranthis : is from the greek 'er' which means 'Spring' and 'anthos' which means flower.
hyemalis : means 'of winter'

The Winter Aconite is a member of the plant family Ranunculaceae, the Buttercup family . . . 'Winter Buttercup' would be a much better name (someone should have thought of that).

In some parts of Suffolk they are called 'Choir boys', because the circle of green leaves looks like a choir boy's ruff collar.

The green 'ruff' are the leaves and the yellow is actually the sepals which enclose the tiny petals inside.

The yellow sepals only open fully is temperatures are above 10˚C, in the hope that a passing insect will visit and pollinate the flower so the seeds develop and eventually scatter and grow into more plants.

As you can see, it's pretty chilly today . . . in fact late this afternoon we had a heavy hail shower with hail stones as big as peas!

I think the coldest weather of this winter is yet to come. 



  1. It is a toss up between snowdrops and aconites - which is the one Im most pleased to see in January

  2. I love that they're called 'choir boys', very apt!

  3. I think you're right, there must surely be some cold weather to come. Beautiful aconites, it's always lovely to see things coming up in January.

  4. You're right not to recommend eating them - they are poisonous, though probably not like the "real" aconite.

  5. It's always a pleasant surprise to see new shoots emerging and what a different a day makes. I made the same points on my blog too.

  6. Winter buttercups and choirboys...what wonderfully descriptive names for these brave little flowers. Aren't they a lovely surprise during chilly times.

    We are back into another of this winter's sub-freezing span of days. Single digits, Fahrenheit, and that is too cold for any one to stay outdoors for very long. My flower seeking will have to rely on watching my white hyacinths on the windowsill. They are lovely, too.


  7. i have never even seen or heard of these before!! they are wonderfulx

  8. Beutiful flowers ...
    i like ...

  9. I love the local name of choir boys. How perfectly apt. Beautiful sharp yellow flowers. Ironically I nearly bought a pot of them in a garden centre yesterday but got seduced away by different varieties of rhubarb (of all things) and it was only after we'd driven away (with the rhubarb) that I remembered them. Drat.

  10. I lost mine last year in a spot where I was also growing Aconitum, so the leaves came up but then just kept growing - all very disappointing! I have a pot full outdoors waiting to try again.


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