VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

Plant Pick: Winter Aconite

Latin name: Eranthis hyemalis

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

This ephemeral gem is a clump forming perennial with bumpy tubers underground. An early spring bloom of bright yellow above a ‘ruff’ of dissected leaves is followed by a seed capsule of two to three seeds.

It is a great ground cover growing to roughly 10cm in height and spreads readily through enlarging tubers and self-seeding, but is easily dividable. Preferring dappled shade and moist soils it yellows slowly after blooming and then disappears completely in the early summer warmth. It naturalizes well and can add a touch of welcome spring focus to a lawn when mixed with crocus and/or dwarf irises to be an early spring flush of colour to relieve those winter blues.


Photo courtesy of:  Kim Hammond




Clump forming spreading perennial


Deeply divided whorled leves


10cm by 45 cm

Hardiness Zone:

Zone 4


Dappled shade to sun (morning)

Flower colour:

Bright yellow

Leaf colour:

Mid green

Flower time:

February /March

Preferred soil

and Watering:

Moist soil, well drained


Ephemeral plants slowly disappear in the heat of the on coming summer such as Erythronims ( Fawn Lilys) and crocus and reappear each spring. Good drainage is crucial to their survival in wettest winters.