Early Meadow Rue, Thalictrum dioicum

Early Meadow Rue

Thalictrum dioicum

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Dry
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-3 feet
Spacing: 2 feet

Early Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dioicum) grows 1-2 feet tall and features lacy, fine-textured, gray-green, compound foliage (superficially resembling columbine or maidenhair fern) and panicles of tiny, drooping, greenish-white flowers often with a purple tinge which appear in late spring (April-May). Male flower has yellowish stamens and female flower has purplish pistils. A native that is usually found on wooded slopes, ravines or ledges near outcroppings of limestone rock.

The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring. Cross-pollination is by wind. The male flowers soon wither away, while the fertile female flowers are replaced by ellipsoid achenes that are pointed at both ends and strongly ribbed. After flowering plants die down during the summer, low basal leaves develop during the fall. Their appearance is similar to the alternate compound leaves, as described above. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. This wildflower can reproduce by its rhizomes or achenes.

Habitats include rich mesic woodlands, wooded clay slopes, shaded areas near cliffs, and rocky ravines. In Illinois, this species is typically found in Maple-Basswood woodlands. It blooms before the canopy trees have fully developed their leaves.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy soil and dappled sun. Intolerant of hot and humid conditions.
 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Powdery mildew and rust are only occasional problems.
  Taller plants may need staking or other support.
  White-Tailed Deer browse on the foliage
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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