Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
Common Name: meadow rue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Asia, Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Lilac-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers a rich, humusy soil and light, dappled sun. Can be easily grown from seed. Intolerant of the hot and humid summers of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium, commonly called meadow rue, typically grows 2-3' tall and features a basal clump of lacy, fine-textured, compound, bluish-green foliage (resembling columbine or maidenhair fern). The lilac-purple male flowers (color is actually from the profuse, fluffy purple stamens) are much showier than the female ones. Flowers are borne in dense panicles on branched, wiry stems rising above the foliage in late spring to early summer. Species is dioecious (separate male and female plants). Mass effect of the male bloom can be quite showy.

Genus name comes from the Greek word thaliktron which was a name used by Dioscorides to describe a plant in this genus.

Specific epithet means with foliage resembling the genus Aquilegia (columbine).


No serious insect or disease problems. Plant stems usually do not require staking or other support.


Provides late spring flowers and delicate, blue-green foliage to perennial borders, wildflower gardens or meadows.