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Enemion biternatum (Eastern false rue anemone)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Enemion biternatum

Enemion biternatum Raf.

Eastern False Rue Anemone, Isopyrum

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Synonym(s): Isopyrum biternatum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Open, many-stemmed perennial, 8-16 in. height. Loose clusters of white flowers with five petal-like sepals are borne on slender stems from leaf axils. White, anemone-like flowers in small clusters at ends of stems or on stalks rising in axils of alternate leaves. Leaves are divided into three segments and then into three leaflets. Grows in large patches.

This small, herbaceous perennial, long known as Isopyrum biternatum, grows from thick, tuberous, fibrous roots. It may be confused with Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides), which has opposite or whorled stem leaves just below the flowers, 5-10 petal-like sepals, and fruit with one seed.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Fibrous
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Usually 5 to 6 inches high, but can reach 16 inches.
Leaf: Yellowish green.
Flower: Flowers 3/4 inch across.
Fruit: Quarter inch.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Usually white, occasionally tinged pinkish. Usually blooms for a month starting in late March to early April, sometimes starts in winter and continues blooming through early spring.


USA: AL , AR , FL , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , OK , SC , SD , TN , VA , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: S. Ont. to MN, s. to n.w. FL, AL, MO, & OK. Most of temperate eastern North America; Zones 5 to 8.
Native Habitat: Rich or calcereous woods & thickets; floodplain woods; limestone ledges.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Rich, moist to mesic, acid soils. Tolerates lime.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates seasonal flooding.


Use Ornamental: Provides bright white bloooms in spring shade.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bees.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Most effective if planted in masses 5 to 6 feet in extent.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Enemion biternatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Enemion biternatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Enemion biternatum


Record Modified: 2023-05-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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