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Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

This buttercup relative flowers in late winter (Jan-Feb), at the same time as snowdrops. Its flowers are cup-shaped and bright yellow with a handsome green ruff, giving them a golden ‘choirboy’ appearance. They prefer moist, fertile, but well-drained soil in part shade, and will naturalise and spread in the right conditions, forming a carpet of golden flowers from their tuberous roots. H8cm (3in) S5cm (2in)