On the north slopes of clay hills where the shooting star opens its rocket-like blossoms and brittle ferns uncurl, and the ruby-crowned kinglets sing their minute songs among the shadbush flowers, the rue-anemones come into their fullest beauty. They are part of a vernal interlude which comes between winter and summer, part of the picture which includes delicacy and airiness and exquisite grace in the turn of a stem, the shape of a small Leaf, the grace of a flower.
Anemonella thalictroides ( L. ) Spach.
April Woods. bills.
There is more substance to a rue-anemone than there is to a false rue-anemone; that is one way to distinguish them there in the spring woods. There are many other differences, most of them subtle, yet often the two are misnamed by those who come to find flowers in the springtime of the year.
Rue-anemone has round-petaled flowers of lavender, pink, or white with a delicate, yellow-stamened center. The flowers stand above the whorls of round, three-lobed, dark green leaflets, and the entire plant of many stems rises from a group of fleshy little rootstocks in the ground. Rue-anemones are truly flowers of the spring winds. Wiry as they are, the stems are unbelievably sturdy in the gusty woods of mid-April. When oaks sustain broken boughs or poplars topple, the rue-anemones simply bend and sway and stand erect again when tornadoes and high winds are past.