Enemion biternatum (False Rue Anemone)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; deciduous woods
Bloom season:April - May
Plant height:4 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
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: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across, 5 white petal-like sepals and numerous yellow stamens. There are 1 to a few flowers on stems that arise from the leaf axils in the upper part of the plant.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] Basal and stem leaves are similar and 2 or 3 times compound in groups of 3. Leaflets are to 1 inch long and wide, toothless, hairless, and deeply lobed into 2 or 3 parts, with each lobe notched or further divided and a minute point at the tip of each lobe. Basal leaves are long stalked, stem leaves become shorter stalked as they ascend the stem. Stems are slender, hairless, reddish, multiple from the base, and typically branched in the upper plant. Plants can create small colonies from short rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a star-shaped cluster of 4 to 6 capsules. Capsules are slightly flattened, teardrop shaped, about 1/6 inch long.


False Rue Anemone is among the early spring bloomers and may be confused with Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) or Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides). The flowers of both those plants may have more than 5 sepals where False Rue Anemone always has 5. Both the other plants have whorled leaves and grow lower to the ground; False Rue Anemone has alternate stem leaves and is typically branched in the upper plant.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Rice County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue County.


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

Posted by: wildwood - Fairmont
on: 2011-05-05 04:45:19

I have masses of these growing in my woodland back yard in southern Minnesota!

Posted by: Sarah - South Central MN
on: 2012-02-10 09:04:27

I've just begun to see this popping up all over the woods behind my parents' house. I'm making a dedicated effort to ID as much of the stuff growing on our property as I can, and this one is definitely a favorite sight in early spring.

Posted by: Suzy - SE Fillmore County
on: 2012-03-29 10:34:54

I am covered up with these flowers. Our farm is in the big woods on the South Fork of the Root River.

Posted by: Jake - Minnehaha Falls
on: 2014-12-03 10:27:45

I photographed large colonies of these at Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis this spring

Posted by: Scott - Northfield
on: 2015-11-03 19:32:39

I saw quite a lot of False Rue Anemone in bloom today near Northfield. Just wondering how often that happens?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-11-03 21:12:12

Spring bloomers sometimes bloom again late in the season, presumably if the temperature and amount of sunlight are similar to their usual spring bloom season. It's been a warm autumn this year, so...

Posted by: DALE - Zumbro Falls Woods SNA
on: 2016-04-13 09:15:54

Seen April 12, 2016. Most flowers not yet blooming.

Posted by: Kimberly - Cottonwood County
on: 2016-04-30 16:33:37

Thousands of plants at Pat's Grove County Park

Posted by: Mark - Nerstrand
on: 2016-10-17 07:43:08

Yesterday we went fall leaf peeking at Nerstrand Woods S.P. and to our surprise saw quite a few False Rue Anemone. We always struggle identifying this plant since it is not in the Peterson Wildflower handbook. Thank you minnesotawildflowers.com for documenting this important MN wildflower.

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