tall thimbleweed

(Anemone virginiana var. cylindroidea)

Conservation Status
tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea)
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea) is an erect, perennial, 12 to 27 tall forb rising from a stout, short, ascending to vertical caudex.

A whorl of 1 to 5 basal leaves rises from the ground at the top of the caudex. Basal leaves are on 2 to 13¾ long leaf stalks (petioles). The leaf blades are broadly inversely egg-shaped in outline and are divided into three leaflets. The terminal leaflet is unstalked or nearly unstalked, inversely egg-shaped or inversely lance-shaped in outline, ¾ to 3½ long, and ¾ to 4 wide. It is wedge-shaped to broadly wedge-shaped at the base and is often cut at the tip into 3 lobes. The lobes may be shallow or deep, and often have secondary lobes. The ultimate lobes are sharply pointed. The surfaces are covered with long, soft, straight hairs, more so on the lower surface. The margins are coarsely toothed with sharp, forward pointing teeth. The lateral leaflets are similar but sometimes deeply divided into 2 segments, causing the leaf blade to appear at first inspection to be divided into 4 or 5 segments.

A single flowering stem rises from the caudex at the base of the whorl of leaves. At the top of the stem there is a whorl of 3 leaf-like involucral bracts (sometimes called involucral leaves) and 1 to 9 (usually 3 or fewer) flowering stalks (peduncles). The involucral bracts are conspicuously stalked and similar to the basal leaves.

The inflorescence is a single flower at the end of each peduncle. Each peduncle is 4 to 12 long, unbranched, and moderately to densely covered with long, soft, shaggy, unmatted hairs. There are 2 leaf-like secondary involucral bracts usually on all but one of the peduncles that closely resemble the stem leaves. The bracts are heart-shaped or kidney-shaped at the base and straight to convex along the sides. The terminal bractlet is light green.

The flower is ¾ to 1 in diameter. There are no petals, usually 5 petal-like sepals, and 50 to 70 stamens with yellow or light brown anthers. The sepals are oblong to egg-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, greenish-white, usually 3 16 to long, and to wide.

The infructescence is a dense, cylinder-shaped, thimble-like, ½ to 1 to long, 7 16 to 9 16 in diameter fruiting head. It appears very prickly.

The fruit is an achene with a tuft of hair attached to the end. In the fall when the achenes mature the fruiting head appears cottony.




12 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica) has a longer, narrower, less prickly fruiting head. It has up to 10 leaves in a whorl at the base of the flowering stalk. There are no leaf-like bracts on any of the flower stalks.

Tall thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana var. alba) is found in moist habitats. The petal-like sepals are longer, to ¾ long.

Tall thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana var. virginiana) is found in moist habitats. The petal-like sepals are longer, to ¾ long.


Dry. Woods, sandy ridges, prairies. Partial shade to full sun.




June to August




Distribution Map



4, 7, 30









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Ranunculanae  


Ranunculales (buttercups, poppies, and allies)  


Ranunculaceae (buttercup, crowfoot)  
  Subfamily Ranunculoideae  
  Tribe Anemoneae (anemones and allies)  


Anemone (anemone)  
  Species Anemone virginiana (tall thimbleweed)  

Subordinate Taxa




Common Names

  tall thimbleweed  











A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A small, often secondary bract within an inflorescence; a bract that is borne on a petiole instead of subtending it; bracteole.



A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



In angiosperms, the stalk of a single flower or a flower cluster; in club mosses, the stalk of a strobilus or a group of strobili.



The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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  tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea)   tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea)


  tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea)    

Fruiting Head

  tall thimbleweed (var. cylindroidea)    






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