Meadow rues are tall and lovely plants with flowers that lack petals but have dozens of fluffy stamens. The English word "rue" refers to the resemblance between the leaves of these plants and the herb rue (Ruta). Thalictrum is an old Greek name for this genus.
Description of meadow rue: The leaves are compound (the species name means "leaves like an Aquilegia or columbine") on stout-branched stalks growing up to 4 feet tall. Plants bear clusters of rosy purple, petalless flowers with many stamens, resembling balls of fluff. They bloom in late May and June. Ease of care: Moderately easy.
Growing meadow rue: Soil for meadow rues should be moist with plenty of additional organic matter in partial shade. In cool gardens in the North, they can take full sun. In hot summers, they must have additional moisture.
Propagating meadow rue: By division in early spring or by seed.
Uses for meadow rue: Use these plants in the wild garden where they naturalize with ease. They are also excellent at the back of a bed or border. Both flowers and foliage are good for bouquets.
Meadow rue related species: Thalictrum polygamum, or tall meadow rue, is an American native wild-flower often reaching a height of 10 feet when conditions are to its liking. The flowers are white. It works well in the back of the garden or in a swampy area of the wild or water garden. Thalictrum speciosissimum blooms in June with bright yellow flowers on 6-foot stalks and plants with very attractive blue-green foliage.
Meadow rue related variety: Album has white flowers. Thundercloud has deep purple flowers.
Scientific name for meadow rue: Thalictrum aquilegifolium