Thalictrum - derivation unknown.
Perennial. Noticeable for its tufts of beautiful fernlike leaves. In rich, open woods. Labrador to Alabama, west to Minnesota and Missouri. Abundant in northern Ohio. April, May.
Branching, one to two feet high.
Alternate, twice to thrice compound; the leaflets slightly drooping, rounded; margins somewhat scalloped; petioles dilated at base; basal leaves the same.
Dioecious. Staminate flowers are clusters of drooping tassels of slender filaments, bearing anthers full of pollen; each flower has four or five greenish sepals, but no corolla and no pistil. Pistillate flowers are upon a different plant and these consist of clusters of pistils grouped four or more together; each flower has four or five greenish sepals, but no corolla and no stamens.
Pistils ripen into ovoid, pointed akenes. Pollinated chiefly by the wind.
The Early Meadow-Rue loves to place itself along a woodland path; possibly the bit of sunshine permitted by the path is the reason; at any rate, the plant adorns the open way when permitted. Its graceful foliage is its greatest charm; the leaves are twice or thrice compound, suggesting the spray of the Maidenhair fern. The. stems stand in tufts or bunches, and after a rain the leaves, silvery with drops of water, possess an exquisite beauty. The species is dioecious, that is, the stamens and pistils are borne on different individuals; consequently there are two kinds of blossoms.
In early April the staminate plant sends up a stem that at the summit divides and subdivides, bearing numbers of tiny, nodding, greenish yellow tassels, shedding pollen in abundance. Each tassel consists of four green sepals, with many yellowish drooping anthers on hair-like filaments. The pistillate flowers are likewise clustered at the summit of a stem and each consists of four to fifteen carpels, but they are stiff and have not the careless grace of their brothers.
Early Meadow-Rue. Thalictrum dioicum