Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Rue Anemone - Thalictrum thalictroides   (L.) A.J. Eames & B. Boivin
Members of Thalictrum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Ranunculales » Family Ranunculaceae
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Author(L.) A.J. Eames & B. Boivin
DistributionThroughout the mountains and Piedmont, though no records yet for several northern mountains. Present in the western portion of the Coastal Plain, east to Bertie, Martin, and Bladen counties -- along major brownwater rivers (Roanoke and Cape Fear); a disjunct record in Pender County.

This is a widespread species across the eastern US, ranging from New England and MN south to central GA, the FL Panhandle, and northeastern TX. It is scarce on the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
AbundanceCommon and quite widespread across the mountains and Piedmont. Infrequent to locally numerous alongside the Roanoke River and the Cape Fear River into the Coastal Plain, but essentially absent there away from these rivers.
HabitatThis is a classic spring wildflower of rich to somewhat mesic forests, mainly on slopes. It favors Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest natural community, but is also found in various cove forests, along wooded streams, and into bottomlands. It is not a species of high pH soils, though it does favor somewhat rich soils.
See also Habitat Account for General Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms from March to May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar wildflower, if you live in the mountains or Piedmont. It is very small and looks nothing like the other Thalictrum species, and not surprisingly has often been placed in a sepatate genus -- Anemonella. It is very slender, growing to about 6 inches tall. The leaves, however, are quite similar to the meadow-rue species -- bi-ternately divided (into 9 leaflets), each one being 3-lobed with rounded lobes and the middle much larger than the lateral ones. Stem leaves are often just singly divided into 3 leaflets. At the top of the stem are several flowers from the same node, each with no petals but with 5-10 white to very pale pink sepals, each of which is somewhat elliptic and rounded at the tip -- producing a flower about 1 inch across. It can grow in moderate stands but not in overly dense patches as some other low-growing flowers of similar habitats, such as Enemion biternatum, Anemone quinquefolia, A. lancifolia, and a few others. Enemion is often confused with it, but that species has almost strictly 5 sepals that are always white, and the leaflets have deeper sinuses separating the leaflet lobes. The Anemone species have serrated leaflet edges. It seems as though every fairly moist/rich wooded slope in the Piedmont and lower mountains contains at least a few individuals of this widespread species.
Taxonomic CommentsAs mentioned above, this species is so different from the other Thalictrum species in NC that it is often placed in the genus Anemonella as A. thalictroides.

Other Common Name(s)Windflower. It is often written as Rue-anemone.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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