The anemone, commonly known today as the ‘windflower’, was named after the Greek word meaning ‘wind’. This beautiful little flower originates from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, but today is widespread across Europe. They decorate woodlands, grasslands and gardens with their vibrant whites, purples, blues, greens, yellows, pinks and reds, which encircle a jet black heart ringed with white. The rarest colour found is an all-white flower with a yellow-green heart. The flowers appear on stalks as clusters or on their own. Once the flower withers and dies, sometimes a hairy fruit or seed is formed in its place. Species of anemone vary in form and blooming times, which is why you can see at least one type of anemone dancing in the wind throughout the year.
The ‘Anemone Blanda’ and the ‘Anemone Coronaria’ (better known as the poppy), are the most common in the family. The latter is one of the best-known and beloved flowers of Israel. The ‘Anemone Nemorosa’ (wood anemone) and ‘Anemone Apennina’ are some of the most beautiful spring flowers found in the woods – in folklore, the closed petals of these pretty flowers is where fairies are believed to sleep. In the Autumn, the ‘Anemone Hupehensis’ is thought to be the flower that carpets the otherwise brown-leafed ground with beautiful vibrant colours. The ‘Anemone Canadensis’ (meadow anemone) was once highly valued by the plains tribes in America, with the flower and roots used as an astringent, a styptic for wounds, sores, and nosebleeds, and as an eyewash.
The ‘Anemone Chinensis’ is also used for healing – it’s still in use today by the Chinese. ‘Anemone Nemorosa’ and ‘Anemone Pulsatilla’ both possess medicinal properties and were once used to heal many ailments – they were even thought to stop a woman from menstruating. They can still be found in some herbal remedies.
Over the years, the anemone has been symbolic to many different cultures and has represented a variety of meanings. The Egyptians thought the flower carried disease, and so it was an emblem of sickness. In European countries, peasants looked upon the flower as an ill omen, whereas the Romans used it as a charm against fever. Chinese call it the ‘Flower of Death’, while Englishmen believed it possessed magical properties such as foretelling the weather – if the petals closed, it would rain. The anemone was also always believed to bring luck and protection against evil in English folklore.
In Greek mythology, the anemone is thought to have sprouted from Aphrodite’s tears as she wept for the death of her love, Adonis. This is where the meaning of ‘forsaken’ and ‘dying hope’ comes from.