Anemone cylindrica (Thimbleweed)

Plant Info
Also known as: Long-fruited Thimbleweed, Long-headed Anemone, Candle Anemone, Cottenweed
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry; prairies, roadsides, edges of woods
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] 2 to 8 long-stalked flowers arising from a whorl of leaves at the top of the stem, sometimes with a pair of leaf-like bracts about midway up a stalk. Individual flowers are ¾ inch across with 5 pointed, hairy, greenish white, petal-like sepals and numerous yellowish stamens around a gray-green cone-like center. The cone is about twice as long as wide while the flower blooms.

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

[photo of leaves] There are basal leaves and a whorl of 3 to 10 leaves about midway up the stem, all of similar shape, palmately compound in groups of 3. The basal leaves have long stalks and are a little larger than the stem leaves. Leaflets are up to 4 inches long, hairy, deeply lobed in 3 to 5 parts, wedge-shaped at the base with the lobes fanning out. Stems are erect and hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] The flower cone elongates up to 1½ inches. Fruit is a tiny brown seed attached to cottony fluff. The cottony cones persist through winter.


Thimbleweed is easily confused with Tall Thimbleweed (Anenome virginiana). The best way I've found to tell them apart is by the shape of the leaves. Thimbleweed leaflets are wedge-shaped at the base with the lobes fanning out. The outer lobes of Tall Thimbleweed leaflets are rounded with teeth along the tip half. Thimbleweed also rarely grows taller than 2 feet, with a cone up to 1½ inches long, where Tall Thimbleweed can reach nearly 4 feet and its cones are usually under 1 inch long.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake, Rice Creek Trail and Battle Creek Regional Parks, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


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

Posted by: Elizabeth A - Itasca State Park
on: 2009-07-30 12:34:26

I was visiting the river and took the path just off that area. I have several other photos of flowers that I have been unable to identify. Though your website I was able to id some of them. Thanks.

Posted by: Kenny h - East of rose creek on shooting star trail
on: 2017-06-19 20:55:32

I took a photo of Thimble is flowering now...there is tall, long fruited Thimble weed here also, but I haven't found it yet.

Posted by: Kim R - Montgomery
on: 2017-06-29 09:18:21

Out looking for black raspberries and came across this on our property. Had neverseen it flowering before.

Posted by: Barbara Haselbeck - Crow-Hassan Park
on: 2020-09-05 01:06:55

I collected seeds from two thimbleweed plants on the prairie in early September as a volunteer at the park.

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