Nice when the weather does what it’s supposed to so I could take advantage of the sun the other day to go to Blakselee and go to the YMCA the following day as the rain pattered down. Back to yesterday and one of the loveliest of wildflowers I think, Tall Meadow Rue.
TALL MEADOW RUE: (Thalictrum pubescens). This native, perennial plant is a member of the Buttercup or Ranunculaceae Family, though it has flowers that do not resemble those of most buttercups. It is a tall plant growing 3-8 …feet high along the banks of swamps, marshes and streams. The leaves are divided and subdivided into many roundish 3-lobed leaflets. On top of the plant are plumes of small white flowers that have no petals, but do have 5 sepals that drop off early.
Each flower is only about 0.75 inches long, but the plumes may up to one foot high. Often, but not always, the male and female flowers are on different plants. Male flowers have about 12 white showy, thread-like stamens with yellow tips. The effect of these is to produce the appearance of a starburst. Female flowers have ten greenish-white pistils with styles, and sometimes a few stamens. Bees and butterflies are attracted as pollinators.
The grooved main stem is stout and light green in color with tinges of magenta at branching points. The long-stemmed leaves are divided many times into small, lobed leaflets. These have a pale, dull blue-green color. Tall Meadow Rue grows in much of northeastern Unitd States and parts of eastern Canada. It is more common in the Northeast, but can be found as far south as Georgia in the mountains. It most commonly grows in moist, fertile soil. The blooming period is July to September.
There is a long history of medicinal use of this plant among Native Americans and of a similar species in Europe. Hippocrates called it a “soothing herb.” In America it was used as an antispasmodic and the smoke from the burning leaves was blown into the ear as a cure for deafness—certainly a doubtful claim unless it can clear earwax. This species also is known by the common name King of the Meadow. There are several other plants in the genus Thalictrum in eastern North America, including the spring blooming Rue Anemone. I took this photograph of a plant with male flowers at Independence Marsh Beaver County, Pa Conservation District, July 16, 2017. The typical leaves are shown in the first comment block.