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Plants of the Bible: (Anemone coronaria)

This tuberous short-lived perennial is native to the Mediterranean and a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes delphinium, clematis, and hellebore. The poppy-like flowers lack petals but have red, white, or blue showy sepals surrounding a dark center. They are carried singly on stems six to eighteen inch tall in early spring.  The medium green leaves are 1-2″ long,  divided, and fern-like but disappear in the summer when the plants go dormant. All parts of the plant are poisonous when fresh.

There is no specific mention of poppy anemone in the Bible but in the New Testement, the Greek word κρίνον is found meaning lily.  Few scholars think a true lily is meant because the only lily native to Isreal, Lilium candidum, is very restricted in distribution and the context suggests it was common.  Translators have generally preferred to render the Greek word as “lilies of the field” and many scholors have identified it as the poppy anemone.  The mention of Solomon, known for his slendid ways, further suggests the showy red poppy anemone.

Matthew and Luke relate the instructions Jesus gives to his disciples on the Mount.

Matthew 6.28-29 (NKJV)

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12.27 (NKJV)

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Poppy anemones like full to part sun, and average, medium moist, well-drained soil in USDA Hardiness zones 6-9.  Plants are generally healthy and have no significant pests or diseases.  Propagation is by seed or tuber offsets.  Poppy anemone can be grown in containers and is an excellent cut flower. Both single and double flowered cultivars are available.

The genus name, Anemone, is probably a corrupted Greek loan word of Semitic origin referring to the lament for the slain Adonis or Naaman, whose scattered blood produced the blood-red Anemone coronaria.  The specific epithet, coronaria, comes from the  Latin word corona meaning crown, garland or halo.