Thalictrum foetidum

Common Name: yellow meadow rue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Asia, Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Greenish-yellow
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. In hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area, plants prefer moist, rich soils with dappled sun or some part afternoon shade. Plants need consistent moisture if grown in full sun. Plants are intolerant of the hot and humid conditions of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thalictrum foetidum, commonly called yellow meadow rue, is native to central Europe. It is a clump-forming perennial that is typically found on grasslands, slopes and damp rocky ledges. It typically grows 1-2.5’ tall and features lacy, fine-textured, medium green, compound leaves (3-4 pinnate) which generally remain attractive through the growing season. Foliage is covered with tiny, odoriferous glands. Tiny, greenish-yellow flowers appear in terminal, branched sprays (panicles) above the foliage in late spring. Individual flowers are not particularly striking, but the mass effect of the bloom can be somewhat attractive.

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 bad smelling for the odoriferous foliage.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Foliage may be the best ornamental feature of this plant. Plants are best sited in perennial borders, cottage gardens, meadows, open woodland areas or naturalized areas. Smaller-growing plants may be used in rock gardens.