We have become accustomed to expecting our yellow Eranthis in the early days of spring, but this species is a nice surprise.
In the deepest depths of winter, when Spring has yet to be even a hope, up this one pops with its lovely white flowers, contrasted by bright chrome yellow anthers and white styles (lacking the blue or indigo anthers of the superficially similar E.pinnatifida). It appears reliably in the filthiest of the winter weather and sits unscathed for weeks in the chill.
A scarce and little seen species which ranges from Northern Korea right across to the Ussuri region on the Russian-Chinese border. It likes a well-drained but humus-rich fertile soil, light and shade are irrelevant, as there is seldom any shade in January and it is dormant by April! Very hardy. USDA zones 4 up.
This is the true, white-flowered plant that is widely acknowledged across published and internet sources as E. stellata and in horticulture. If you buy it anywhere else under this name, it is also the white-flowered plant that you will receive. I mention this as it is worth noting that, in contrast, the Flora of China treatment for Eranthis gives the flower colour of E. stellata as yellow. This is thought to be an error based on dried, and thus yellowed, herbarium material).
The other white-flowered Chinese species are E. albiflora and E. lobulata. However both of these are, according to the same source, limited to Szechuan whilst E. stellata is acknowledged as having a wide range, including Xinjiang, which is where our plants came from.
Naturally very small but these are flowering-sized, nursery-raised, propagated tubers originally from a Chinese nursery. I stress that despite their naturally TINY size they are plump, viable tubers, the plant is simply a miniature, which correspondingly has miniature roots.
Use a well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil with some summer dryness but no any kind of a “bake”. This species does need a cold winter rest, but one short of freezing through. Growth with us starts later than for pinnatifida and that species has finished flowering here before stellata even breaks the surface however your mileage may vary.