Plant of the Month for May 2012

Pulsatilla patens subsp. flavescens; photo by Todd Boland
Pulsatilla patens subsp. flavescens

Description and general information

There is some debate as to the proper name of this plant. Some authorities call it Pulsatilla patens subsp. flavescens while othesr elevate it to its own species status as Pulsatilla flavescens. Of course, according to the Flora of North America, it is now classified as an Anemone.

This plant is native to eastern Siberia and neighbouring Mongolia growing on meadows among larch, pine and birch forests as well as steppe slopes. The entire plant is softly hairy with palmatisected leaves. Flowers are yellow, often lilac-tinted on the reverse of the sepals. Blooms are erect and held wide open. Perianth segments are 2.5-3.5 cm long. Plants range from 15 cm when in flower to nearly 30 cm when in seed.

Cultivation

This pasqueflower prefers full sun and demands a well-drained site and performs best under slightly alkaline conditions. As Pulsatilla are taprooted, it is best to plant them as a young plant and avoid transplanting it later in life. It is rated hardy to zone 3.

Bloom period

March in the south to May in northern areas.

Propagation

Seed

Seed

Fresh seed is best for the germination of this species. It seems that germination is also better if the long tail is removed from the seed. Fresh seed may be sown at 20 C and should germinate within 3 months. Otherwise, if no germination, provide a startification period of 10-12 weeks. Older seeds germinate best after a stratification period.

Division

Plants are primarily taprooted. While large plants can be divided, it is ill-advised

Cuttings

No