Pheasant’s eye (Adonis autumnalis) was a precious old garden friend, the colours of which reminded the Victorian gardener of the pheasant. It was also known as rose-a-rubie and red maythes (an old herbal name), or ‘red camamill’ by country folk.
Despite its name, Pheasant’s eye was a summer flowering annual. The seed could be sown at any time of the year, but it should always be sown where the plant was to grow, as Pheasant’s Eye did not like to be transplanted. It tolerated most soil, and even some shade, although it blossomed most freely in sunshine.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.