early meadow rue

(Thalictrum dioicum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

early meadow rue

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

Common

 
Habitat

Moderate moisture. Woods. Partial sun to shade.

 
Habitat

 

     
Flowering

April to May

     
Flower Color

Greenish to purple-brown

     
Height

12 to 28

     

Identification

This is a 12 to 28 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from fibrous roots and a stout caudex. Staminate flowers (male) and pistillate flowers (female) are borne on separate plants. This plant blooms in the early spring before deciduous trees leaf out.

Stems are erect, hairless, green, and often branched in the upper half.

All leaves are on leaf stalks. Stem leaves are alternate. They are 3 or 4 times ternate—divided into 3 main divisions (ternate), each division further divided into 3 segments (biternate), each segment further divided into 3 leaflets (triternate), or once more divided. The leaflets are to 1¾ wide and wider than long. They are kidney-shaped, heart-shaped, round, or inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end. The leaflets have 3 to 12 often round-toothed lobes. The upper surface is hairless and usually green, sometimes bluish due to a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous). The lower surface is hairless but may have short, rounded, nipple-like glandular bumps or projections.

The inflorescence is a small, up to 6 tall, branched cluster at the end of the stems and branches and in the leaf axils.

Male flowers have 5 greenish to purple-brown petal-like sepals. There are no petals. They droop at the end of short stalks. The sepals often drop off early leaving about 12 stamens with yellow to greenish-yellow filaments and anthers. The flowers do not produce petals or nectar to attract insects. They are wind pollinated.

The fruit is an achene over long.

 
Similar
Species

Tall meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) is a much taller plant, 3 to 5 at maturity. Middle and upper leaves are stalkless. The leaflets are as long as wide, or, more commonly, longer than wide. The larger leaflets are divided into 2 to 5 but usually 3 lobes. The lobes are untoothed or occasionally have a few additional teeth. The flowers bloom later, June to July.

Waxy leaf meadow rue (Thalictrum revolutum) is a much taller plant, 3 to 7 at maturity. The stems are glaucous. Middle and upper leaves are stalkless. The leaflets are as long as wide, or, more commonly, longer than wide. Leaf margins are rolled backward to the underside. The larger leaflets are divided into 2 to 5 but usually 3 lobes. The lower leaflet surface is covered with glandular hairs giving it a whitish, waxy appearance, and has a conspicuous network of raised veins.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Ranuncuaceae (buttercup)

 

Subfamily:

Isopyroideae

 

Tribe:

Isopyreae

 

Subtribe:

Thalictrinae

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

dioecious meadowrue

early meadow rue

early meadowrue

early meadow-rue

quicksilver-weed


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.

 

glaucous

Covered with a whitish, waxy coating, as on a plum or a grape.

 

ternate

Refers to leaves that are divided into three leaflets or sections.

       

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Inflorescence

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Flower

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Leaves

  early meadow rue   early meadow rue
       
  early meadow rue   early meadow rue
       

Early Spring Leaves

  early meadow rue   early meadow rue
       
       
       

 

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  Native Woodland Species
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Uploaded on Nov 9, 2009

http://www.PrairieMoon.com - Watch Steve discuss native woodland species blooming mid May, including Columbine, Wild Blue Phlox, Virginia Bluebells, and Early Meadow Rue.

 
     

 

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