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Cut-leaved Anemone (Anemone multifida var. multifida)

Life history

Species overview

Cut-leaved Anemone (Anemone multifida var. multifida), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found on dry sandy or limey cliffs and hillside prairies. Blooming occurs early May through early June; fruiting occurs early June through early July. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late June.

Synonyms: Anemone globosa, Anemone hudsoniana, Anemone multifida var. hudsoniana, Anemone multifida var. nowosadii


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from other Anemone species by its size (greater than 10 in) and number of sepals (less than 10). When sepals are red this species is especially recognizable.
  • Flower characteristics: Flowers are medium to large in size; petals absent; sepals petal-like and usually white to red in color.
  • Fruit characteristics: Seeds densely woolly.
  • Leaf characteristics: Deeply palmately divided basal leaves and a whorl of 3 mostly stalkless cauline (stem) leaves at or below the middle of the flowering stem.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through early June
  • Fruiting phenology: early June through early July
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late June


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Not recorded for Wisconsin populations.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Cut-leaved Anemone (Anemone multifida var. multifida). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Anemone multifida var. multifida in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5T5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on dry sandy or limey cliffs and hillside prairies.
  • Soils: Rocky or sandy, calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Cut-leaved Anemone. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Dry Cliff 3
Dry Prairie 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Cut-leaved Anemone. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.


Cut-leaved Anemone Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Cut-leaved Anemone Photo.

Photo © Jessica Salesman.

Cut-leaved Anemone Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Cut-leaved Anemone Photo.

Anemone multifida var multifida

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Cut-leaved Anemone Photo.

Anemone multifida var multifida

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition