Anemone piperi “Piper’s Anemone” Ranunculaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
May 10, 2015
Robert Niese

Piper’s Anemone doesn’t look much like other common PNW anemones. It tends to have glabrous, trifoliate bracts that look exactly like leaves, while other anemones would have highly dissected, not-very-leafy bracts such as these here. And instead of having five white petaloid sepals it can have up to eight, as you can see in this photo. Apparently, the genetic and developmental mechanisms that determine which floral parts will be sepals, petals, or stamens are easily changed, allowing flowers with loads of stamens (like roses, buttercups, cherry blossoms, anemones, larkspurs, etc.) to produce a few extra petals instead. This is how we get the ornamental varieties of many Ranunculaceae and Rosaceae flowers (their wild versions should have five petals). Piper’s Anemone is a PNW endemic and is uncommonly found in moist coniferous forests from the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington, through central Idaho, west to the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.

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