Winter Aconite - Eranthis hyemalis
Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) Zone 4
This unique butter cup is the second earliest plants to bloom in Southern New England only a week or two after 'Arnold's promise' witch hazel. The visual part of the solitary flower actually is the 6 yellow petal-like sepals which is about 1" across. Quite often the flowers popped up through the snow in the end of the winter. Leafy bract situated right under flower which also often mistakenly identified as the leaves. The deeply divided basal leaf with long petiole develops after the flowers is gone and die back in the summer. Will reseed or can be propagated by the tubers. Plant grows about 3-6" tall. Grows in full sun or partial shade area. Excellent for naturalized planting.
Introducing 'Arnold's Promise' Witch Hazel. Spring is still a month away but the messenger is here. Witch hazel is the first plant to bloom in the Northeastern United State. It can grow in dense shade and have very nice form. There is nothing can substitute this plant. Unfortunately it is unknown to most of the people because most of the Nursery won't carry them. By the time the garden center opens, the early blooming flowers will be long gone. Only the avid gardeners would buy them. The same situation applies to Iberis, the candytuft.