The wood anemones are on their way! 

This herald of spring grows in woodland where it enjoys the dappled sunshine.  The wood anemone spreads very slowly, growing through underground root systems called rhizomes rather than through seed dispersal.  They extend only six feet every hundred years and so when you see a carpet of wood anemones, you know you are standing in a unique and complex habitat which likely has not been disturbed since at least the 1600s.

The wood anemone is part of the buttercup family and is also known as the windflower, anemone deriving from the Greek for ‘daughter of the wind’.  They were said to grow from Aphrodite’s tears when she saw that her beloved Adonis had been killed.  They are also believed to be a gift from one of the wind gods, known collectively as the Anemoi.

In folklore, the wood anemone warned of worsening weather, when they bent their heads it meant a storm or heavy rain was on the way.  If you picked a wood anemone, then a thunderstorm was guaranteed so it’s probably best to leave them growing happily in the woods!

The ancient woodlands where wood anemones like to grow are rich and diverse ecosystems but are under severe threat in the UK.  According to the Woodland Trust, only 2.5% of the UK is ancient woodland and half of this has been felled and planted with non native conifers.  We will be posting more about our ancient woodlands and what we are doing to conserve them soon.

Seeing these little white stars popping up all over the woods fills our hearts with happiness at the coming of longer days and (hopefully) better weather.  We can’t wait!

Photo taken on 11 March 2024

A carpet of wood anemones taken at Led by the Wild in spring 2022