Anemone patens (American Pasqueflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Eastern Pasque Flower, Prairie Crocus, Cutleaf Anemone
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry sandy soil; prairies, open woods
Bloom season:March - May
Plant height:3 to 18 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals

[photo of flowers] A single flower 1 to 2 inches across at the top of a densely hairy stalk, with 5 to 7 (typically 6) blue-violet to white petal-like sepals and numerous yellow stamens surrounding a light green columnar center. The sepals are pointed at the tip and lined with numerous parallel veins.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: palmate

[photo of stem leaves] There is a whorl of 3 stalkess leaves just below the flower. All leaves are palmately compound and divided into several narrow segments, generally kidney-shaped in outline.

[photo of basal leaves] A few basal leaves on long stalks emerge after the flowers bloom. Leaves and stems are densely covered in long silky hairs. The stems elongate when the fruit starts developing. A plant often has several stems.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a seed head covered in pinkish purple feathery plumes up to 1½ inches long, which are the remains of the styles, each attached to a single seed. The plume facilitates dispersal by wind.

[photo of seed] Seeds are 3 to 5 millimeters long, spindle-shaped to elliptic, brown covered in long white hairs.


Pasqueflower is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, often coming up while there is still snow on the ground. Look for it on south facing slopes in dry to average sandy soil, typically in scattered clumps. It does very well as a garden plant. This species also commonly goes by Latin name Pulsatilla patens and less commonly Pulsatilla nuttalliana. There are multiple varieties (or subspecies, depending on the reference) with A. patens var. multifida found in Minnesota and much of North America.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk, taken at the Baxter/Brainerd Northland Arboretum and at Hastings Sand-Coulee SNA in Dakota County. Additional photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at a private garden in Lino Lakes


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Char - Goodhue County, Hay Creek Township
on: 2011-04-25 12:57:18

Took a hike on our property in Hay Creek on April 24th and found this flower on the south facing hillside of our property. We moved to this location last fall so this is the first time I have seen this wild flower. There were numerous clumps of them on the hill.

Posted by: sharon - Elm Creek Park
on: 2012-04-07 17:44:51

I have a clump growing in a southern exposure in the wooded section of my yard. I have also seen them growing on sandy banks at Elm Creek Park. It is the first to emerge and bloom each spring. I have a nice picture but could not paste it in the comment section. It is a lovely flower and blends with my trilliums quite nicely.

Posted by: Adam - Becker
on: 2012-04-14 15:23:18

Next to the common building, Becker disc golf course.

Posted by: Steve - Red Wing, Barn Bluff
on: 2012-05-02 16:18:53

These are common on the top edges of the bluffs up and down the Mississippi river valley. Probably one of the earliest blooms, sometimes through the snow. They seem like they are pretty hardy, if not for the niche environment.

Posted by: Paul - St. Paul
on: 2014-05-22 23:07:00

Hundreds of pasque flowers were in bloom on the Saturday before Easter on Ottawa Bluffs, LeSueur County, a few miles east of St. Peter.

Posted by: Brian - St. Peter
on: 2015-04-05 19:12:39

As the poster above (from last year) said, there are hundreds of pasque flowers at Ottawa Bluffs (TNC)in Le Sueur County, now in bloom for this year. The majority at the south end of the site are on the highest hill (I didn't visit the north end). Pasque flowers are also in bloom now at Kasota Prairie Preserve in Le Sueur County. There's a particularly great display on the outcrop nearest the parking lot.

Posted by: Gabriel - South Minneapolis
on: 2015-04-11 00:28:17

I've only once seen this plant in the wild, but I've planted it in my yard. It's the thing I look forward to in the spring. It's in a sunny, warm spot where it begins poking out of the ground right after the snow melts. The buds are cute and fuzzy, and the flowers are beautiful with lavender backs to the petals (sepals), white insides, and yellow stamens. I grew some from seed last year; hope to have a hillside covered in them eventually.

They don't self-seed, because seeds die if they dry out; best to put seeds in a moist baggie in the fridge and plant immediately after they sprout (a few weeks to two months), then let them grow through late summer and fall. They overwinter as a tiny rosette, and next year (I hope) they will flower.

Posted by: Pete - River Terrace Prairie State Natural Area
on: 2015-04-30 10:43:56

I noticed quite a number of these blooming 29 April 2015 along the northern edge of the terrace. Not a wildflower expert, I didn't search for or notice them elsewhere.

Posted by: Jeff - Martin County, Carl Krahmer WMA, near welcome
on: 2015-05-05 17:18:17

on a hillside in open prairie grasses

Posted by: Patty - Chester Woods County Park, Rochester, MN
on: 2016-04-09 16:01:12

Saw several Pasque flowers blooming last week on thee goat prairie and along Prairie Ridge trail.

Posted by: Terry C - Grant County on the East side of Pelican Lake
on: 2016-05-04 16:14:38

Found today in the road ditch along County 19. They are at the end of the blooming period with only a couple still with flowers.

Posted by: Dick M - Whitewater State Park
on: 2017-04-11 21:39:34

Photographed a grouping of these, a lovely lavender color, near Coyote Point in Whitewater State Park on April 8, 2017, up high on the bluff in a grassy area in full sun with southern exposure. Also saw several at Chimney Rock in the same park.

Posted by: Jeff Z - Olmsted County
on: 2017-04-28 07:05:40

I found a single faintly purplish one growing near the top of the west face of a sandstone cliff while out hunting leeks in a typical SE MN mesic hardwood forest south of Silver Creek just east of Rochester. Many thanks to Mn Wildflowers for help in identification. You are more than welcome to use any and all pics I posted on your FB page.

Posted by: Wayne G - Fertile
on: 2018-04-18 21:30:24

With late spring this year, pasque are just starting to bloom in the Fertile Sand Hills where literally hundreds bloom every year on the sand dune remnants of Glacial Lake Agassiz. Earth Day Pasque flower hike this weekend in the Fertile Sand Hills!

Posted by: Lonna S - Whitewater State Park
on: 2018-05-05 15:13:58

We were just at Whitewater May5 & found a few out on inspiration point. Super pretty.

Posted by: cheryl b - crow hassen park reserve
on: 2018-05-06 16:17:07

Blooming now at crow hassen park reserve in the open prairie.

Posted by: Tammy Pullar - Fort Ridgely State Park
on: 2019-04-26 08:32:46

I found this flower yesterday. I have been trying to get a picture of it for years. I was always too late, till this year. A long winter and a late spring were in my favor. You need to go up Airplane Hill. When you get up there, there is a lookout. Look down and there are three plants blooming. When you leave the look out going towards the picnic table there is a hill and there are two more Pasque flower plants. One has bloomed.

Posted by: Janet P. - McKnight Prairie
on: 2020-04-11 20:28:55

There were many blooming today, the day before Easter, at the tops of the hills at McKnight Prairie. Tiny black beetles (I think that they were beetles) were on every blossom. Are these early pollinators? I don't remember seeing them before. Most were on the stamens, but many were also on the petals. There was no sign of insect damage on the petals.

Posted by: Pamela Layton - Sand Dune State Forest bear Zimmerman
on: 2020-04-12 09:11:58

Found Pasque flowers - white and purple - along a very sandy path. Probably 40-50 clumps. Found a bee inside one blossom.

Posted by: Jesse Puka-Beals - Buffalo State Park
on: 2020-04-27 21:06:50

Saw my first pasque flowers at Buffalo State Park along the trail on the south side of the river 27Apr2020.

Posted by: Timothy Werz - Lake City
on: 2020-05-06 04:57:49

Has anyone seen this in or around Lake City. We are in the process of planting all native flowering plants in the yard this year.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-05-06 06:44:38

Timothy, if you look at the MN state distribution map, you'll see where pasqueflower has been collected in the past.

Posted by: Sharon - ex-Alexandria
on: 2020-05-10 17:58:01

I have looked and looked, with no success, for pasque flower (May flower) seeds/plants. Can you recommend a nursery/Web site? They are a sweet memory of my childhood.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-05-10 18:30:50

Sharon, I don't know where you looked but there are several native plant nurseries in Minnesota that sell pasqueflower plants and/or seeds. See "Where to buy native seeds and plants" or the map of native plant purveyors in MN.

Posted by: Patti Rogness - Roseville
on: 2021-03-09 08:04:58

I make a yearly trek to the Cannon Valley bike trail to TNC land there to see these precious treasures on the South facing slope. They remind me of little spring baskets.

Posted by: Jasmine Nieto - Spicer, PWELC
on: 2022-05-04 10:41:21

We have Native Prairie out on a Native American Burial mound with some blooming right now!

Posted by: Michael Kallok - Sherburne County
on: 2023-04-30 18:31:46

Saw a cluster blooming today at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.

Posted by: Wayne Goeken - Fertile Sand Hills, Polk County
on: 2023-05-05 22:41:13

Hundreds of pasqueflowers now in bloom in the Fertile Sand Hills just SW of Fertile, Mn. SE corner of Death VAlley 1 has 100s in bloom. Found in many other areas in the Fertile Sand Hills as well.

Posted by: Charles - Near Dennison
on: 2024-03-02 17:34:02

Pasque flower 1-2" out of ground on south slope on March 2,2024

Posted by: Felicia H - Red Wing
on: 2024-03-10 16:22:57

Spotted today (Mar 10) on He Mni Can/Barn Bluff.

Posted by: Kendra R. - Bloomington, Hennepin County
on: 2024-03-15 08:17:56

Saw my first blooming Pasqueflowers in the wild on a small bluff prairie along Nine Mile Creek in Bloomington, MN on 3/14/2024.

Posted by: LeAnn Plinske - Northland Arboretum in Brainerd/Baxter
on: 2024-04-16 16:21:04

Blooming now, 4/15, along the edges of Little Ben, Big Ben and Acorn Trails at Northland Arboretum. You do not need to trek off trail to see them.

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