Thimbleweed has a tall, upright stem rising from clumped basal leaves with a whorl of three or more deeply-lobed leaves. The greenish white flowers fruit into a greenish white elongated cluster that resembles the rough part of a thimble. Thimbleweed typically grows to 1-2′ tall. Each plant contains two types of palmate compound deeply lobed leaves: large basal leaves (to 4″ wide) and a whorl of smaller stalked stem leaves located 1/2 way up the stem. Naked flower stalks rise upward from the leaf whorl, each stalk containing a single flower. After bloom, the center cone of each flower elongates into a cylindrical cone (to 1 1/2″ long) as the seed begins to develop. Mature cones contain tiny dark brown seeds attached to cottony tufts which facilitate distribution of the seed by the wind (anemone from Greek means wind).
Easily grown in sandy or gritty, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants tolerate drought. This wildflower is native to prairies, dry open woods, slopes, limestone glades, pastures and roadsides throughout southern Canada south to New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri and Arizona.