This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Dwarf herbs with creeping fleshy rootstocks and radical palmate leaves appearing after the flowers. Scape about four inches high, furnished with a single stem-clasping leaf, whose verticillate segments have the form of an involucre. Flower solitary, terminal, yellow. Sepals from 5 to 8, coloured, regular and narrow. Petals small and inconspicuous. Carpels stalked. Name from np, Spring, and avoos, a flower.
1. E. hyemails (fig. 11). Winter Aconite. - One of the earliest
Fig. 11. Eranthis hyemalis. (1/2 nat. size.)
Spring flowers, possessing the valuable quality of flourishing in almost any soil or situation. Native of Italy.