Pulsatilla vulgaris syn Anemone pulsatilla
Herbaceous perennial also known as Wind Flower and Meadow Anemone, this gorgeous little plant in the buttercup family is native to calcareous grassland areas in Europe.
Pasque Flower contains a substance called ranunculin, which is converted to anemonin, a medicinally active compound, when the plant is dried. Fresh plants are toxic if eaten or even when applied to the skin, and can be a severe irritant or worse. However the plant has a long history of herbal and homeopathic medicinal use once dried or heated, although we would advise against home use without guidance from a qualified practitioner. In particular it should not be used during pregnancy as it can induce abortion.
Pulsatilla is used for painful conditions of both male and female reproductive systems, as well as for tension headaches, hyperactivity, insomnia, boils, asthma and other lung diseases, earache, migraines, nerve pain, general restlessness, disorders of the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, as well as for some eye conditions.
Other uses of the plant include as ground cover (spaced 30cm apart), and a green dye, which is extracted from the flowers.
Pasque Flower thrives in well drained sunny spots, as well as under the sunny edges of deciduous and pine woodlands. It prefers an alkaline soil and can tolerate quite extreme alkalinity. It is very frost hardy, and relatively drought hardy once established.
Although it only grows to around 40cm in height (in flower), its roots can go as deep as one metre on loose soils. In spring a rosette of soft, finely-dissected silvery leaves appear which are highly ornamental in themselves. However it is the purple bell-shaped flowers which follow which are the crowning glory, one of nature’s most perfect forms – in my opinion anyway! These are followed by distinctive silky seed-heads which can persist on the plant for many months.
The common name of Pasque Flower comes from the Hebrew “pasakh”, meaning Passover (Easter), referring to the fact it flowers in Spring. It is the county flower of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire in England, although it has now become rare due to over collection and loss of habitat.
Certified organic plant in 9cm pot.
Photos: Kahikatea Farm except seedheads https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsatilla#/media/File:Pulsatilla_vulgaris_bokeh.jpg