Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

            Plant of the Month, April 2013
Callianthemum anemonoides - by Joan McCaughey
Callianthemum  - from the Greek, Calli (καλλί)  = beautiful, Anthos (άνθος) = flower.

As Easter approaches this year with snow on the ground and a biting East wind, one little plant, Callianthemum anemonoides , in spite of its delicate appearance, is surprisingly tough. The plant above, photographed on 3rd March last year,  has this year been in flower since February and has survived being moved around in a raised bed  while we continue to resolve our cold exposed new garden. The daisy like flowers appear first, followed by finely dissected ferny foliage and the flower colour can vary from white to deep pink.  Liam has a form in his crevice bed which has much darker pink stems and may be Blackthorn strain from Ashwood Nurseries.

Nearby in the raised bed is Callianthemum kernerianum, similar but with slightly smaller flowers, which has bloomed since the end of January. This has become a very endangered species in its original habitat of Monte Baldo in Italy.

The callianthemums belong to the ranunculacea family and the above two are largely found in limestone formations. Seed has to be freshly sown and the seedlings may vary in the quality of the flowers, pink forms being more attractive to my mind. Plants may succumb to botrytis but this has not been a problem on our windy site.

The only callianthemums that I have seen in the wild are C. alatavicum, another beautiful plant but not so far in my cultivation, and C.coriandrifolium seen on my very first alpine flower trip to Saas Fee twenty seven years ago.

In my experience the first two buttercups are very accommodating, easy to grow and cheer up the early Spring bed so do give these little buttercups a try.


Callianthemum alatavicum

Callianthemum coriandrifolium