Pheasant's-eyes

Common Pheasant's-eye Common Pheasant's-eye

What are they?

This is a small group of plants, native to mainland Europe and once more widespread in the UK as annual weeds of cultivated ground. They are members of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) with the flowers somewhat resembling very small anemones. There are a number of very similar species on the Continent, some of which have yellow flowers, while some of the red-flowered species are difficult to tell apart.

Where are they found?

Common Pheasant's-eye was probably introduced to the UK as early as the Iron Age, as an impurity of imported cereal grains. It is now extinct in our region but occasionally appears from sown wildflower mixes or where agri-environment schemes have introduced it along wth other arable annuals, but such schemes seem not to produce lasting populations.

Identification

Currently, only a single species in this genus might be found in the wider countryside, with identification detailed below. The red species can be difficult to tell apart and are best identified on features of their seed capsules.



Common Pheasant's-eye      Adonis annua

An archeophyte, having been introduced to the UK from continental Europe perhaps as early as the Iron Age. Formerly a scarce plant of disturbed ground but now extinct in our region. Flowers July. A small annual plant, 10-50cm in height with leaves cut very deeply to just narrow, linear segments.

Common Pheasant's-eye Common Pheasant's-eye
Habit
Flower