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ADONIS vernalis

Image of Adonis vernalis

Jessie Keith

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

ADONIS vernalis

Plant Common Name

Winter Pheasant's Eye

General Description

Similar to the Asian Adonis amurensis but larger overall and better adapted to drought, winter pheasant's eye also has a broader area of distribution existing across much of Eurasia. In the wild, this spring ephemeral inhabits dry fields, roadsides and montane grasslands. Its golden flowers light up the landscape in late winter or spring and disappear by late spring. Occasionally, plants escape from cultivation; wild populations are known to exist in New York State's Westchester County.

Rising from slow spreading, stout rhizomes, winter pheasant's eye produces flower buds in late winter surrounded by clasping dark green to reddish green foliage that has yet to unfold. The glossy, golden flowers make most of the early season sun--opening when the sun's rays are upon them and closing at night or on cloudy days. Bees are the primary pollinators. The feathery leaves rise and unfold to bright green as the flowers fade. Post-pollination, small, dry, brown achene fruits are produced. These fall to the ground and occasionally germinate. By late spring, the foliage dies back for the season.

Full to partial sun and well-drained upland soil with a neutral pH are ideal for winter pheasant's eye. Be sure to plant this true ephemeral among later blooming perennials that will fill in the gaps they leave behind. Long established specimens will spread to create pleasing floral clumps. Plant with Siberian squill and other scilla.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 7

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    4"-15" / 10.2cm - 38.1cm

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes