|Winter Aconites, Eranthis hyemalis, Potter's End, Byfield|
14 February, 2013
There are about eight species in the genus, all found in south east Europe or Asia, but the one almost invariably grown is Eranthis hyemalis. A close relative from Sicily, E.cilicica, has larger flowers and is sometimes grown, but is not as reliably hardy. Even a non-botanist can see at a glance that Eranthis is a member of the Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae, and like nearly all other members of the family, the plants are poisonous (though far less dangerous than another family member, Monkshood). The whorl of bracts, forming a frill beneath the flowers, makes them distinctive and there are other structural differences too but they are of interest only to the enthusiast.