Meadow-rue is a wind-pollinated plant whose tall stems hold their fluffy plumes of cream-white flowers high above most other vegetation in the tall growth of mid-June. The flower stems grow Prom a rounded mass of dark green leaflets which look much like a coarse maidenhair fern; the leaves are almost as beautiful as flowers. Then in late May from this tuft of leaves there grow tall, fibrous, leafy stems which often reach a height of five or six feet it the surrounding vegetation is tall, and here, on a fine day in June, the small buds open. There are both staminate and pistillate flowers, the former the fluffier and more delicate, with dangling white stamens. They produce great quantities of pollen which is blown by the wind to oilier meadow-rue plants to make seed formation possible.
Thalictrum revolutum Muhl.
June. Roadsides. woods. ditches.
Meadow-rue grows in deep woods as well as in blue-grass glades where the sun comes in and the winds blow freely across the pollen-laden flowers. Sometimes meadow-rue is found in the shadowy oak woods where June leaves make heavy shade; sometimes it is found along a road whose ditch is moist and the roots of the plant are plentifully fed with moisture. But most often, perhaps, meadow-rue is found in an open, woodsy place, not too shadv, not too dry, not too wet. where sweet william blooms in spring and the brown thrasher nests in a nearby thorn bush when June is on the land.
The early meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum) is a smaller plant which is not more than two feel tall. It has more delicate foliage than the above species and is to be found on wooded hillsides. It flowers a month earlier than the taller species.