Sp. Pl. 1: 547. 175.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 242. 1754.

Common names: Pheasant's-eye adonis
Etymology: Greek mythology: sprouted from blood of Adonis, lover of Aphrodite, based on the blood red flowers
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 3.
FNA03 P34 Adonis Caltha Trollius pg 185.jpegAdonis annua
Trollius albiflorus
Caltha natans
Caltha leptosepala
John Myers
John Myers
John Myers
John Myers

Herbs, annual, or perennial from stout rhizomes. Leaves basal and cauline (cauline often absent at flowering time), proximal leaves petiolate, distal leaves sessile; cauline leaves alternate. Leaf-blade 1-3-pinnately dissected, segments narrowly linear, margins entire or with occasional tooth. Inflorescences terminal, flowers solitary; bracts absent. Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric; sepals not persistent in fruit, 5 (-8), nearly colorless or green, plane, obovate, 6-22 mm, apex ± erose; petals 3-20, distinct, yellow to red [white], often striped or basally darkened with black, purple, or blue, plane, oblanceolate, 8-35 mm; nectary absent; stamens 15-80; filaments filiform; staminodes absent between stamens and pistils; pistils ca. 20-50, simple; ovule 1 per pistil; style present. Fruits achenes, aggregate, sessile, nearly globose, sides veined or rugose; beak terminal, straight or strongly curved, 0.5-1 mm. x=8.


North America, Eurasia, nAfrica


Species ca. 35 (3 in the flora).

Several species of Adonis are frequently cultivated in North America for their showy flowers. In eastern North America the species sometimes escape from cultivation; although they may become briefly naturalized, most populations evidently do not persist. In the western United States A.aestivalis apparently was introduced as a contaminant in agricultural seed and might have escaped from cultivation. It has become naturalized, and populations tend to persist.

Reliance on herbarium specimens, rather than population studies, of annual Adonis in North America has resulted in confused species concepts. Flower color is variable within the species and changes with drying, and diagnostic features of the fruit are reliable only when achenes are fully mature (C. C. Heyn and B. Pazy 1989).

While most Ranunculaceae attract pollinators to often highly specialized floral nectaries, Adonis lacks nectaries, instead offering pollen as a reward. The fruits are harvested by ants.

Leaves and roots are said to be poisonous to humans and livestock.

Selected References



1 Herbs perennial; flowers 4–8 cm diam., anthers yellow; achenes pubescent, beak strongly recurved. Adonis vernalis
1 Herbs annual; flowers 1.5–3 cm diam., anthers purple-black (olive green with age); achenes glabrous, beak straight or nearly so, erect. > 2
2 Body of achene without transverse flange, abaxial keel not toothed. Adonis annua
2 Body of achene with transverse flange (usually most pronounced abaxially), abaxial keel with small tooth at junction with flange. Adonis aestivalis
... more about "Adonis"
Bruce D. Parfitt +
Linnaeus +
cuneate +, truncate +  and cordate +
curved +  and straight +
0.05 cm0.5 mm <br />5.0e-4 m <br /> (0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br />) +
globose;cylindric +
Pheasant's-eye +  and adonis +
North America +, Eurasia +  and nAfrica +
Greek mythology: sprouted from blood of Adonis, lover of Aphrodite, based on the blood red flowers +
sessile +  and pedicellate +
showy +  and inconspicuous +
sessile +  and aggregate +
axillary +  and terminal +
compound +  and simple +
whorled +, opposite +  and alternate +
cauline +  and basal +
palmate +  and pinnate +
with occasional tooth +  and entire +
incised;toothed;incised;toothed;entire +
blue +, purple +, punct +, darkened with black +, striped +, yellow +  and red +
distinct +
conspicuous +
oblanceolate +  and plane +
reduced +
0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br /> (3.5 cm35 mm <br />0.035 m <br />) +
20 +  and 50 +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
not arillate +  and stalked +
green;colorless +
not persistent +
distinct +
3 +  and 6 +
obovate +  and plane +
0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br /> (2.2 cm22 mm <br />0.022 m <br />) +
persistent +
Ranunculaceae +
perennial +  and annual +
herbaceous +  and woody +