Eranthis hyemalis

Common Names: Winter aconite
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Buttercup family

A tuberous-rooted herbaceous perennial growing to 15 cm with large (2 to 3 cm), yellow, cup-shaped flowers held above a collar of 3 leaf-like bracts. The six sepals are bright yellow and petaloid and the petals are in the form of tubular nectaries. There are numerous stamens and usually six unfused carpels. The fruit are follicles each containing several seeds.

In Connecticut it is most commonly found in flower gardens and landscaping. Blooms late winter and early spring. As a spring ephemeral plant, its life cycle exploits the deciduous woodland canopy, flowering at the time of maximum sunlight reaching the forest floor, then completely dying back to its underground tuber after flowering.

Edible Notes: Poisonous.
Warnings: All parts of the plant are poisonous when consumed by humans and other mammals because it contains cardiac glycosides. Glycosides of this type stimulate the heart when administered in small doses, but in very large doses may cause serious, often irreparable heart damage. Symptoms of poisoning include colicky abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, disturbed vision, dyspnea, bradycardia and, in severe cases, cardiac arrest.