This is, perhaps, the stiffest and least beautiful of all the anemones. Yet because beauty is a comparative quality, the tall anemone might be called most beautiful of its tribe if the others were less ornamental than they are. In the mosaic of the leaf-pattern, in the tall, stiff, downy stems, in the small, green, downy star which is the flower - a star of petals enclosing a globe of pistils and stamens - there is a certain beauty which belongs to the Illinois woodlands in mid-June.
Anemone virginiana L.
Now it is high summer, hot, humid, with long days and short warm nights a-sing with tree crickets and whip-poor-wills. There is a certain polished brown oak leaf over a little way in the leaf-strewn floor of the woods, where a whip-poor-will has laid two white eggs scrawled over with hieroglyphics of purple and grey and brown. All day the female whip-poor-will broods the eggs. Against the protective browns and greys of the woods floor, the bird is almost invisible, but when she flies up like a great moth, the stems of the tall anemones nearby are moved by the flutter of her wings.
A snail pauses a long time under the anemones. A box turtle moves slowly through the woods and pauses to scrape a hole in the loose earth in which to lay white eggs. Days come and nights come, and by and by it is July and the anemones are out of bloom. The stout leaves still stand and on the ends of the wiry stems are conical heads of compact seeds waiting to ripen.