Green Flowers: Sanicula epipactis

Sanicula epipactis - a woodland plant with yellow flowers and a collar of green bracts

The word ‘verdant’ seems designed for this herbaceous perennial woodlander. Not quite all green, it has yellow flowers that emerge in winter and persist for some time amongst a mound of leaves. Beth Chatto’s website calls Sanicula epipactis ‘an endearing little plant’; I’ll add that the flowers form a cheerful congregation.

They are tiny, clustered ankle high in button-sized domes, surrounded by a collar of lime green bracts. Later, leaves push up between them, gradually unfurling as their stems lengthen.

Bracts can be surprisingly showy. These are like ruffs, each with a lightly serrated edge.

Many plants have consistent forms and symmetry – if one flower has six bracts, you can guarantee all the others in the clump do too. Sanicula epipactis is less regular. In my pictures there are from five to seven bracts per flower cluster.

Variegated forms exist – Sanicula epipactis ‘Variegata’ or ‘Thor’ – that have cream or white streaked bracts, for those who appreciate a little extra bling.

Synonyms and superseded names include:
Hacquetia epipactis (this is the name I’m most familiar with)
Astrantia epipactis
Dondia epipactis

Shared as part of Cee’s Flower Of The Day. I love her choice for today – a beautiful, creamy magnolia.

26 Replies to “Green Flowers: Sanicula epipactis”

    1. You mean it got frozen and never came back? That’s a pity if so. Green flowers have something about them it’s hard to put your finger on.

      1. It froze and died. We often get really late freezes after the roses are budding out and it kills them if they are not hardy buses.

        1. Own root roses can sometimes be hardier if you could get them. Did you once mention having Dr Huey rootstock flowering away somewhere?

          1. We got 70 own-root roses one year, the green rose was one of them, and the next year we had a very hard cold winter with hard frost in late May and early June. Most of the own root roses died. The hardiest roses we have are the David Austin roses. I don’t think we have lost a single one through cold and drought.

          2. Oh heck, although the last is good to hear. You should tell Michael Marriott about that – you seem to have a good testing site.

  1. Someone must write a song with a refrain of “senicula epipactus.” Maybe Gilbert & Sullivan already did. It seems very singable to me. In that top photo it looks as though it’s got blooms of flashlights. What amazing things grow around our ankles!

  2. A cheerful congregation is right! I have never seen nor heard of those plants. Oddment’s suggestion made me laugh. Now, all I can hear is the name with the jaunty music of Gilbert & Sullivan in the background. Repeated over and over.

    1. I hope my answering this comment doesn’t set the music off again… even jaunty can pale on us after a time. Oddment so often has a turn of phrase for something.

    1. One of my favourite words is ‘agricola’. Our Latin teacher taught us to emphasise gric (a-grick-o-la) but apparently it should be ah-GREE-co-la which sounds more Italian. For some reason I just liked the sound of it.

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