fredag 14 december 2012

Eranthis sibirica DC.

Syst. Nat. [Candolle] 1: 315. 1817 [1818 publ. 1-15 Nov 1817]

Synonyms. Eranthis uncinata Turcz.; Helleborus nivalis Siev. ex Ledeb.; Helleborus sibiricus Spreng.


Eranthis sibirica has been known for the science since early 1800th century but maybe as a result of its remote and for long inaccessible habitat it never has been really established in cultivation. Its extremely early appearance in spring can be another explanation to why introduced plants have been short-lived. In semi-mild climate it is a granted victim of late spring frost. As a result Eranthis sibirica has been reported to grow well in the northern parts of Scandinavia there the climate is more continental and the spring more reliable.

Limited access to living plants makes determination hard and the sources are not totally trustworthy. In the Flora of USSR Shipschinskii describes the species as yellow-flowering with some yellow hairs on pedicels and follicles, in contrast to Eranthis sibirica which have its parts covered with white hairs. The yellow flower has probably to do with a yellowed herbarium specimen, since Eranthis sibirica has white flowers as Candolle 1817 describes it. Next problem is the very uncertain characteristic of the hairiness. Shipschinskiis statement how parts of Eranthis stellata are “covered with delicate, white glandular hairs” is certainly not obvious. More distinctly is the pale green colour of the broader lobed involucre bracts and how the flower is faced straight up. In Eranthis stellata the bracts are more delicate lobed and tinged copper and dark green and the flower is often lateral.

Description Rhizome tuberous, subglobose. Basal leaves one. Leaf blade 3-5 with tripartite lobes to the middle. Involucre with narrow entire or trifid bracts. Bracts narrow or trifid, pale green. Pedicel short at first, later elongating, glabrous or glandular-pubescent. Flower white, upright. Sepals 5-6, white, elliptic or oval. Petals rather broad, bifid at apex, 1/4 to 1/3 as long as the sepals. Filaments white, linear. Anthers white. Style Follicles on short stalks, obliquely declinate, narrowly lanceolate or oblong-elliptic with a shortish straight or more or less curved beak. Seed

Distribution. Russia: Siberia in Altai, the Angara River area and Sayan Mountains.

Habitat. Forests, clearings and on mossy localities in mountains.

Phenology: Flowering May-June

Number 15 and 17 show petlas and nectaries of Eranthis sibirica. From Flora USSR, vol 7 p 52.

4: distribution of Eranthis sibirica (Flora USSR).

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