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Thalictrum dioicum (Early meadow-rue)
Makin, Julie

Thalictrum dioicum

Thalictrum dioicum L.

Early Meadow-rue

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



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

Early meadow-rue is a graceful, 8-30 in. perennial with long-stalked leaves divided into many delicate, lobed segments. Petal-less flowers have yellow stamens that hang like small tassels. The female tassel-like blossoms are purple and appear on separate plants.

This flower blooms in the spring, just as the trees are leafing out, which accounts for its common name. The species name alludes to the fact that the male and female flowers are on separate plants, and is derived from the Greek word meaning "two households."


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Greenish to purple.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: GA & AL to AR, n. to N.B., s.w. Que, s. Ont. & MN
Native Habitat: Rich woods; slopes; alluvial terraces

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Rich, mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Although the delicate, Chinese lantern-like blossoms of early meadow rue are extremely attractive, the plant is grown mostly for its fine-textured foliage.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Plant seeds outside in the fall. Seedlings will germinate in one year; flower in two or three.
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: Late May through Jun.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
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 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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