Meadow Rue

small pink flower with green leaves and green plants behind it

With its elegant architecture, delightful, lacy foliage, and impressive floral display, Thalictrum, or meadow rue, is a plant that is not to be overlooked. The enchanting meadow rue is within Ranunculaceae, a rather dream-like plant family that boasts genera including Aquilegia (columbine), Anemone, Delphinium (larkspur), and Ranunculus (buttercup). The genus name Thalictrum, meaning ‘to flourish’, was named by Linnaeus in 1753 and is often appreciated for its dainty woodland vegetation and the airy grace of its flowers.

Thalictrum rochebruneanum is a slender herbaceous perennial that typically reaches heights between four and six feet, while spanning up to two feet wide. It features a lovely purple stem that bears glabrous leaves and a delicate apical spray of lavender flowers that appear in late June. The plants in this genus are dioecious, meaning that the male and female reproductive parts are on two separate plants. Due to the incredible golden-yellow stamens that peek through the fragile sepals in July and August, the male plants are a favorite here throughout Reiman Gardens.

In terms of desirable plant growing conditions, the meadow rue prefers humus-rich, moist soil and thrives in zones 4-6 — perfect for Iowa’s zone 5 climate. It is typically found in shaded or damp locations, but flourishes in full sun to part shade areas if kept sufficiently moist.

This charming plant provides excellent columbine-like foliage interest in a woodland garden, natural area, or moist sunny perennial border. Due to the willowy, see-through appearance of the blooms, it is most attractive when mass planted and will likely need staking.

Here at Reiman Gardens, this fairytale-like perennial can be found clumped throughout the south end of the South Field. Whether you’re considering a new dramatic plant to add to your landscape, or just merely interested in admiring its handsome golden stamens, be sure to visit us and check out Thalictrum rochebruneanum ‘Lavender Mist’ while it’s in bloom this summer!

Prepared by: Sydney Weldon