Anticipating Spring: Rue-Anemone

Rue-Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides syn. Anemone thalictroides). Photographed on the Niagara Escarpment near Dundas, Ontario, May 9th, 2011.

In Canada, rue-anemone is restricted to the Carolinian zone of southern Ontario, and it is not common there. It is a true spring ephemeral, disappearing after it sets seeds and spending the summer as a small tuber. Garden varieties of rue-anemone, with pink or pale blue flowers, or double petals, are lovely in shady rock gardens, but I have found them to be a bit miffy, unless one can give them a nice loose, woodsy soil.

Wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia). Photographed on the Niagara Escarpment near Dundas, Ontario, May 9the, 2011.

The wild rue-anemone in the photo was growing in close proximity to another low-growing ephemeral woodland anemone, wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia). Wood anemone is also Carolinian, with a slightly larger range, and is more common. It can form large patches in rich deciduous woods, to charming effect.

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Trish Murphy

Artist: botanical, still life, and natural history illustration. Garden designer: native plants and naturalistic gardens

One thought on “Anticipating Spring: Rue-Anemone”

  1. A lovely wee thing! Many gardeners on this side of the Rockies feature Thalictrum aquilegifolium, which is huge and showy. Until it flowers, the plant looks, indeed, like columbine run amok. This ephemeral native version is much subtler and pleasing to the eye, if only for a short time. Definitely worth searching out. The giant variety is, as an English friend puts it, “rather sudden”.

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