Thalictrum dioicum (Early Meadow Rue)

Plant Info
Also known as: Quicksilver-weed
Genus:Thalictrum
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, shade; woods
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:8 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle

[photo of female flowers] Male and female flowers are on separate plants. Flowers of both sexes are petal-less and about ¼ inch across, with 4 or 5 light green sepals that drop off early on the female flowers. The female flowers have 10 thick thread-like white to greenish pistils.

[photo of male flowers] Male flowers have numerous dangling yellowish green to purplish brown stamens with pale yellow tips that turn brown with age. For both sexes, flowers are in large, open, branching clusters in the upper plant.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 1 to 4 times compound in groups of 3 or 5. Leaflets are ½ to ¾ inch long and about as wide, hairless with a slender stalk. Each leaflet is notched or lobed at the tip end in 3 to 12 rounded parts. Attachment at the stem is alternate, while the leaflets are oppositely attached. Stems are round, may have a waxy bloom, are hairless or sometimes glandular.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Clusters of dry seed form on the female plants. Seed is about ¼ inch long, green and generally oval with distinct vertical ridges and a curved brown stub of a pistil at the tip.

Notes:

Early Meadow Rue is similar to Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum), but the latter is a much taller plant (to 6 feet), has leaflets with only 2 or 3 lobes, and doesn't start blooming until about the time Early Meadow Rue goes to seed in June. Also similar is Veiny Meadow Rue (Thalictrum venulosum), which also blooms later and has leaflets with only 3 to 5 lobes.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Lynn - St. Louis Park
on: 2010-05-01 19:22:55

Early Meadow Rue began growing in my front yard garden about two years ago. It's a volunteer from somewhere. But a delightful plant nonetheless.

Posted by: Linda - Dakota County
on: 2011-07-15 13:56:59

I've found this growing in both Kaposia Park and Simon's Ravine Park in South St Paul, but you have to get off the main trail in order to see it. I also found young plants growing in Sunfish Lake Park Reserve in Washington County, as well as deep within Maplewood Nature Center's complex of trails. I've seen a very few plants in the woods across the road from our home in South St Paul, but didn't see any there this year. I did collect some seed from a plant in Simon's Ravine a few years ago, and it did start successfully from seed in my shady garden. While the flowers aren't showy, I just love the airy foliage!

Posted by: Melody - Brook Park
on: 2014-05-28 18:10:30

In Kanabec county, all over my yard and in the woods surrounding. Beautiful fairy-looking plant.

Posted by: Pamela - Oak Grove, Anoka County
on: 2015-06-09 21:55:47

This grows in my yard all over. My 'yard' is nearly 10 acres, mostly wet, but has some woods and upland woods, mixed hardwood. I find this growing in the damp woods mostly, but also in the upland areas a little. Beautiful plant.

Posted by: frieda k - st. laurent, manitoba
on: 2017-06-24 09:01:15

have seen this plant for a number of years. Have yet to find the female plant, but must be around, in order for me to see the male plant! June 20 2017

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