Western Meadow Rue

On my daily walks, I started noticing this pretty foliage, almost frilly. Similar to columbine, but not quite the same. I wondered what it might be, and kept an eye on it every day.


I didn’t have long to wait; it bloomed not long after I started watching it. And–wow. I’ve not seen anything quite like this before:


It took me a while to find out what it is. Western Meadowrue (Thalictrum occidentale). It bears male and female flowers on separate plants; I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of the female flowers, but you can see a really good one here. I’m amazed by these plants; no petals at all, just sepals and stamens or pistils, depending on the plant. The male flowers look like delicate little tassels, and they swing in the slightest movement of the air (making them really difficult to photograph).


I had trouble finding information about these plants on line. I haven’t yet combed through any wildflower books to see if I can find them; none of my herb books say anything about them. I did find this brief article, with some interesting information. But it drove  home to me a realization of how little I know about the plants native to my home soil; most of the herbs I’m familiar with are imports from Europe and the Mediterranean.

I’m still watching this little beauty; the flowers are fading now, and I can’t wait to see what the–fruits? Seeds? Are like. I’ll keep y’all posted.


3 thoughts on “Western Meadow Rue

  1. We have tons of Meadowrue here, it makes up a big part of the Juniper/Oak woodland understory in moist places. We had a short convo on it over at the Herbwifery forum that might be worth reading. It is indeed a beautiful and graceful plant.

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