Thalictrum pubescens
Common Name: thalictrum 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Canada, United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer


Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, moderately fertile, organically rich, humusy soils in part shade or dappled sun. Less vigorous growth typically occurs in full shade. Will grow in full sun in cool summer climates as long as soils are kept uniformly moist. Plant foliage usually turns yellow if soils are allowed to dry in summer. Taller stems often need staking. Plants may be cut back after bloom if foliage depreciates. May be grown from seed and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thalictrum pubescens, commonly known as tall meadow rue, is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 3-7’ tall and to 3’ wide. It is typically found growing in rich woods, low thickets, marshes, swamps, wet meadows and stream/river banks from Newfoundland to Ontario south to Illinois, Mississippi and Georgia.

Tiny starry apetalous white flowers (each to 1/3” across) bloom from mid-June to August in fluffy many-flowered inflorescences (panicles). Plants are mostly dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), except male and female flowers sometimes appear on the same plant and bi-sexual flowers sometimes appear with limited numbers of stamens. White flower color primarily comes from the showy thread-like white stamens which extend outward in a starburst pattern. Ternately and pinnately decompound leaves have 15-27 stalked ovate to rounded blue-green leaflets having three-lobed apices. Plants have both basal (on long petioles rising from the base) and cauline (sessile on the stem) leaves. Petioles and rachis are frequently pubescent. Leaves are somewhat reminiscent of the leaves of columbine (Aquilegia).

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

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word pubens (with downy hairs).

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.


Good tall selection for rear of beds and borders. Cottage gardens. Wildflower meadows. Woodland gardens. Shade gardens. Pond peripheries. Naturalize in low areas with continuously moist soils.