Tall Meadow Rue

2016 November 26

These peculiar flowers were blooming beside the Pilgrim River boardwalk on June 26, 2016. They were pretty common, and the plants were quite tall, with some of the flowers being all the way up to eye-height.


The peculiar thing about the flowers is that they didn’t seem to have any parts other than dangling bunches of the pollen-bearing anthers.



The leaves were compound, with each leaflet having three lobes.


Identifying this one took quite a bit of searching, not least because when I finally did find pictures of it, they all showed the anthers sticking straight out instead of hanging down. But, using both the leaf shape and the general anther configuration, I’ve decided that it is most likely Tall Meadow Rue, Thalictrum dasycarpum. And the reason why the flowers look kind of weird, is because this is one of those cases where the plants are either male or female, not both. So, these are the male blossoms, and only produce pollen. Other plants, which I don’t think I got pictures of, would have had the female blossoms that would actually set seed.

This is obviously a wetland plant (since that’s where I found it). It is in the buttercup family, and is definitely native to the area. They seemed to be doing pretty well down at the Pilgrim River, so I don’t think they are in much danger of being pushed out by invasive species, at least not yet.

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