Monday, January 07, 2008


Thalictrum thalictroides, our native rue anemone, is the most unobtrusive little plant in our woods and garden. It's only about six inches high, with dainty little white or pale lilac flowers and three-toothed leaflets that remind me of little duck feet. These little feet are indeed leaflets, not individual leaves, with three leaflets arising in clusters on opposite sides of the plant stems. Although close to the ground, its leaflets and flowers are held on such fine stems, that they move with the slightest breeze, hence it is called an anemone (anemone referring to the wind).
I've always had a soft spot for rue anemones, perhaps because they are so small, and look so... defenseless. Indeed, they are becoming scarcer with the ravaging of our native woodlands. The deep, damp ravines in the woodland preserve that I have been managing are carpeted in spring by rue anemones, Dutchman's breeches, and bloodroots. I'm slowly beating back the invasive garlic mustard and multiflora rose, so that hopefully these wee anemones will bloom on for many bird song-filled, green springs to come.
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I've got to remember that they've been moved to Thalictrum - I still call them Anemonella. This is my favorite plant & I have 3 varieties of it, the white, a dark pink & a double. I'm so tempted to get the double pink 'Oscar Schoaf.' Last year was the best for them ever in my garden, as they never went dormant. Keep up the good fight against the Garlic Mustard, it's also a big problem here.
MMD... It's pretty confusing when things keep changing genus. I've seen the double pink, and it's lovely. It's a little hot and dry for a lot of the thalictrums here.
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