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.

Posted by: Jessica - Byron
on: 2018-05-02 15:05:42

Masses of these in the wooded trails along the river at Oxbow Park in Byron today. Most have buds on them; a small percentage have bloomed already but more will be opening in the next few days!

Posted by: Caleb - Mt. Lake
on: 2018-05-10 13:42:32

I believe I have a positive ID on these at Cedar Lake County Park near Trimont in Martin County. I noticed that the range map doesn't have this species verified in Martin County. There is also the fella on this page from Fairmont that has loads in his yard. Somebody with the authority to do so ought to get this one confirmed for Martin County.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-05-10 15:24:30

Caleb, the best way to update county records is to collect a specimen and submit it to the University of MN's Bell Herbarium. Then it becomes part of the official record and we'll get those updates in time. It should be a naturally occurring population, and you should have the landowner's permission to collect on their property. The Bell has other collection guidelines published on their web page.

Posted by: cheryl b - Elm Creek Park Reserve
on: 2018-05-18 04:39:35

Quite a bit of this blooming in oak mesic and maple-basswood forest at Elm Creek Park Reserve.

Posted by: Brenda - Chisago county - rush lake
on: 2018-06-15 18:16:35

I believe I have these on my lakeshore near a willow tree.

Posted by: arlene kjar - NORTHFIELD
on: 2021-04-17 12:20:58

I have a clump of it growing in my flower garden and it is blooming right now. It came in a pot of an iris I planted many years ago. It has been enlarging in area it covers over the years.

Posted by: Missy Moore - Preston MN
on: 2021-04-19 12:58:11

Lots of these were blooming in the woods along the Root River bike trail from Preston to Lanesboro MN. 04-18-2021

Posted by: KEANNA KERRIGAN - Rice County
on: 2023-05-09 08:01:36

Tons of false rue anemone blooming in a wet wooded area near cannon city, MN on 5/8/23. Found near White trout lily, Bloodroot and Dutchman's breeches. Plums were also blooming at this time.

Posted by: Audrey Earnest - Frontenac State Park
on: 2023-05-09 11:47:50

I found these just off the hiking path along the river this past weekend.

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