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Thalictrum dioicum

Phonetic Spelling
tha-LIK-trum dy-oh-EE-kum
Description

Early Meadow Rue is an easy to grow native perennial wildflower in the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family with lacy gray-green compound leaves which resemble the genus Aquilegia (columbine) and this plant is often confused with Columbine or the Adiantum genus (Maidenhair Fern).  It is found naturally in seepages and moist forests. 

It is a dioecious plant, meaning there are plants that contain male flowers, and separate plants with female flowers. It blooms in early spring, just as the leaves are coming out on the trees, which accounts for its common name. It's scientific name comes in part by dioicum which is Greek meaning "of two houses" referring to the flower sexes being on different plants. In bloom, the plant contains panicles of tiny, drooping, greenish-white petal-less flowers that hang like small tassels with a purple tinge which appear in late spring (April-May). The male flower has yellow stamens and female flower has purple pistils. 

Plant in average to rich well-drained soil in the full sun to dappled or partial shade.  Its gray-green leaves provide a great backdrop to other later flowering perennials and it looks attractive in a border front, in a meadow or cutting garden or naturalized area of the landscape. This plant is pollinated by the wind. It is heat and humidity sensitive and dies back in the middle of summer.  After the plant dies back, low basal leaves develop during the fall.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  Older plants may need to be staked to stay upright.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#small spaces#easy to grow#moths#native perennials#cut flowers#NC native#cutting garden#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#early spring flowers#border front#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#audubon#meadows
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#small spaces#easy to grow#moths#native perennials#cut flowers#NC native#cutting garden#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#early spring flowers#border front#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#audubon#meadows
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Thalictrum
    Species:
    dioicum
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Border plant, early flowering so provides backdrop for later flowering perennials
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and Central North America, south eastern Canada
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer Resistant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Pointed at both ends and strongly ribbed from the female flowers
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy early spring (April-May) green-white with purple edges. Male flowers have yellow stamens and female flowers have purple pistils.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmasect
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Lacy delicate gray-green leaves (resembling columbine or maidenhair fern)
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stem and any side stems are pale green to pale purplish green and cylindrical
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Humidity