Native to Britain and Europe the wood anemone has been grown in gardens for centuries. There are various myths surrounding the origin of the plant including a belief that it sprung from the tears of Aphrodite or Venus who was grieving over the death of her lover Adonis. Another claim is that it is the embodiment of the nymph Anemone who was loved by Zephyrus and transformed into the flower by his jealous wife.
Wood anemones have a short flowering season and for this reason, and the myths associated with them, the Ancient Greeks came to see them as a symbol of an early death. In some European countries they were even seen as the plant of the devil.
Unlike many plants which were symbolic to the ancients they have not been adopted by Christianity although they are dedicated to certain Saints.
Ancient Greek symbol of early death