Anemone richardsonii is the only yellow-flowered species found in northern climates. The occurrence map from the USDA PLANTS database is somewhat deceptive, as it shows Alaska and most of Canada. While accurate, it isn’t as precise as the distribution map for Anemone richardsonii from the Flora of North America, which demonstrates far more clearly that this is a species of northern climates. In addition to northern North America, yellow thimbleweed or yellow anemone is also native to Greenland and parts of Eurasia.
Found in somewhat open areas (FNA notes: thickets, moist woods, meadows, slopes; 20-2200 m), the plant in today’s photograph was growing in a wet seep area at lower elevations of Pink Mountain in northeastern British Columbia. The population of 75 or so plants was the only one we noticed during the 4-5 days I was there. Another botanical description of the species is available from the Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and many more images from E-Flora British Columbia.
Its specific epithet, richardsonii, is in honour of Scotland-born surgeon-naturalist Sir John Richardson–a fascinating and accomplished person. In addition to seemingly having every fifth species of plant in northern Canada named after him (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there are many), as an icthyologist he described 43 genera and over 200 species of fish. He was the surgeon-naturalist on the first two of Franklin’s expeditions to the northern reaches of North America; when Franklin’s third (ill-fated) expedition did not return, he traveled by canoe from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to the mouth of Mackenzie River–a distance of 3800 km / 2350 miles as the crow flies–in 3 months. In 1848. At age 60. Yet more impressive, in order to see the Arctic spring bird migration in 1827 on the Saskatchewan River, he walked from Great Slave Lake to Fort Carlton (where he was to meet his assistant, Drummond). This was a distance of over 1450km / 900 miles. He made the journey in 50 days. From December 25 to February 12. Read more: C. Stuart Houston’s account of Sir John Richardson in Arctic Profiles (PDF).