Stems: slender, one to three feet high. Leaves: ternate, the lower ones petioled. Flowers: nodding on very slender pedicels in an ample open panicle; filaments purplish-green; anther linear, cuspidate; calyx of four to eight sepals that fall early. Fruit: achenes one to ten in each head, ribbed, lanceolate.
A dainty plant, with delicate foliage closely resembling robust Maidenhair Fern. The eye of the traveller is at once caught by its pretty tassels, which hang in clusters and are of a pale green colour, tipped with reddish-purple. It is frequently found along the margins of alpine streams, being much admired in fruit, when it shows numerous seed-bearing stars, tipped with thread-like points.
Thalictrum megacarpum, or Veiny Meadow Rue, has purplish stems, ternate leaves, purplish-green flowers and wedge-shaped achenes tapering into a short beak. The filaments are not so long as in the preceding species.