Thalictrum simplex
Common Name: meadow rue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Europe to temperate Asia
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Purple-tinged green sepals
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Grow in moist, moderately fertile, organically rich, well-drained soil in part shade. Tolerates full sun as long as soils are kept consistently moist. Less vigorous growth typically occurs in full shade. Plant foliage usually turns yellow if soils are allowed to dry in summer. May be grown from seed and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thalictrum simplex, commonly known as meadow rue, is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial of the buttercup family that typically grows on simple unbranched stems to 18-30” tall. It is native to slopes, wet meadows, grasslands, forest margins and rocky ledges from Europe to southwestern Asia. Tiny starry apetalous bisexual flowers (each to 1/3” across) with purple-tinged green sepals bloom June to July in fluffy many-flowered inflorescences (loose panicles to 12” long). Flower color comes from the color of the sepals and stamens. Ternate leaves with pinnate divisions feature entire to 3-lobed, lanceolate, green leaflets.

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 simple in reference to the branchless plant stems.

Plants in the genus Thalictrum are commonly called meadow rue in reference to the similarity of their leaves to the leaves of common rue (Ruta graveolens).


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew, smut and rust may appear.


Borders, meadows, cottage gardens, open woodland areas.