Wood Anemone

(Anemone nemerosa) It closes its petals and droops before rain (Inwards), and it is a fairy flower; in wet weather they shelter in them. So it is an unlucky flower to pick, for that would provoke a thunderstorm (it was actually called Thunderbolt in Staffordshire (Vickery. 1995)). To dream of anemones predicts love (Mackay), though in Staffordshire it was reckoned unwise to take one anywhere near a wedding, for it would be bound to cause bad luck (Raven). This ill-luck nature is of some antiquity, for the Egyptians looked upon it as the emblem of sickness, and the Chinese call it the Flower of Death. This reputation is also quite widespread in Europe. The Romans, though, picked the first anemone as a charm against fever, and this idea still prevails in places (Grieve. 1931).

This is a homeopathic doctor's "cure-all", or rather, the tincture is (Schauenberg & Paris), but apart from that, it is not a greatly used plant. Certainly, it served in Ireland as a plaster for wounds (Wood-Martin), and they also used the plant there to relieve a cold in the chest (Moloney). Also, it is "good for the headache, if you put the leaves of it on your head" (Gregory. 1970).

Gerard called it Windflower, though the name is usually applied to the genus as a whole. It is explained by asserting that some species flourish in open exposed places, or that they would not open till the March winds began to blow (Friend. 1883). The belief is from Pliny: "Flos numquam se aperit nisi vento spi-rante, unde et nomen eius" (see Rambosson). Greek anemos is the word, and the name of the flower means literally "daughter of the wind". But this is a sort of folk etymology, for the true origin is the Semitic na'aman (see POPPY ANEMONE).

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