Content Detail

Small clusters of white or light pink flowers blushed with purple are produced on thick stems above the compound, evergreen to semi-evergreen leaves of Lenten-rose from late winter to early spring. This perennial prefers alkaline, average, well-drained soils in light shade. This species can be added to a winter garden, shade garden, cottage garden, containers, beds, or borders.

  • Family (English) Crowfoot
  • Family (botanic) Ranunculaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest late winter, early spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, White
  • Shape or form Broad, Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Wildlife Birds, Insect pollinators

More Information

Size and Method of Spreading

At maturity, Lenten-rose is between 1 to 1 ½ feet tall and wide. It spreads by self-seeding.

Native Geographic Location and Habitat

Lenten-rose is native to Asia Minor and Eurasia.

Attracts Birds or Pollinators

Lenten-rose attracts early season birds, bees, and other beneficial insects.

Leaf Description

Lenten-rose leaves are evergreen in warm climates, but are often semi-evergreen in colder climates. They are dark to medium green, hairless (glabrous), leathery (coriaceous), and divided into seven to nine elliptic leaflets that form each fanlike, palmately compound leaf. The compound leaves attach to the stems with long stalks (petioles). The edges of the leaves are irregularly toothed (serrate).

Flower Description

The flowers produced on Lenten-rose are nodding, bowllike, white or light pink flowers with purple on the backs of the flowers and around the edges. The flowers are up to 4 inches in diameter. They have five petal-like sepals surrounding petals that have been modified into tubular nectaries. The nectaries originate from under the pollen-bearing structures (stamens), which lengthen as they mature, sometimes extending past the length of the sepals. The stamens surround the ovaries (pistils), which form a sort of bottle shape and are topped with pointed, sticky structures (styles). The stems on which the flowers occur are thick, and they are covered with large, leaflike bracts. Lenten-rose flowers grow in small clusters (cymes) from a singular point of connection at the terminal ends of the stems.

Fruit Description

The fruit is long with a pointed tip (beak) and opens from top to bottom along one side when mature (follicles). The developing fruit of Lenten-rose is surrounded by persistent, petal-like sepals that spread as the fruit matures. The nectaries and stamens fall from the flowers as the ovaries mature into fruit.

Care Knowledge

Plant Care

Wear gloves when handling Lenten-rose to avoid skin irritation. Adding a layer of mulch in the fall can help Lenten-rose to overwinter.

List of Pests, Diseases, and Tolerances

No major pest issues affect Lenten-rose. Minor fungal issues with crown rot and leaf spot may occur. Lenten-rose is resistant to deer. It can tolerate some drought, pollution, and full shade.


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