The winter aconites (Eranthis spp.) include nine species and at least one hybrid of beloved winter and spring flowers. The white flowering are less known, but become more common in the trade. I hope this blog will help to sort out the species and cultivars.
Synonyms: Eranthis uncinata var. puberula Regel & Maack; Eranthis vaniotiana H.Lév.; Shibateranthis stellata (Maxim.) Nakai
2n=16 (Yuan and Yang 2006)
A neat species on emergence with coppery to bronze tinged bracts. Flower is relatively small,
even for a winter aconite, petiolate and often lateral. It is compound by short,
narrow, never overlapping white sepals and bifid petals with golden tips. Rhizome
(tuber) globose. From China: Jilin and Liaoning, Korea (N & S), Russia:
understood species described as yellow flowering, probably due yellowed
herbarium specimens. This error follows the species from Flora of the USSR to the present edition of Flora of China. The treatment in Flora of the USSR testifies the problem with revisions made solely from
herbarium specimens. According to Flora
of the USSR the only way to key out Eranthis
stellata from Eranthis sibirica
is by the hairiness of the plants. I would say the lateral flower (vs. erect)
and the coppery bracts (vs. pale green) are equally important and much more
easy to determine. My own cultivated specimens of Eranthis stellata are from Jilin (China) and have no visible hairs
(but accordning to Flora of USSR and Flora of China they should have...) but
lateral flowers and coppery bracts.
Eranthis stellata with golden circle of petals and narrow, white sepals.
Eranthis stellata with copper tinged
bracts forming the involucre.
Number 6, distribution of Eranthis stellata.
Qiong Yuan and Qin-Er Yang 2006. Tribal relationships of Beesia, Eranthis and seven other genera of Ranunculaceae: evidence from cytological characters, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 150, 267–289