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Plant Description


Thalictrum pubescens Pursh 1814, non Schleich. ex DC. 1817

En: tall meadowrue, king-of-the-meadow, meadow-weed, muskratweed, pubescent meadowrue, late meadowrue
Fr: pigamon pubescent

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup or crowfoot Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Thalictrum pubescenshab Thalictrum pubescensflplm Thalictrum pubescenslvs Thalictrum pubescensinff Thalictrum pubescensflw Thalictrum pubescensflm Thalictrum pubescensfrt


General: A tall, perennial forb, to 1.5 m tall, stems smooth (glabrous).

Leaves: Basal and alternate, pinnately compound (tripinnate), with 15–27 stalked leaflets. Stem leaves (cauline leaves) sessile, basal leaves on long petioles. Leaflet blades oblong to rounded (orbicular); smooth above, the lower surface smooth or with fine hairs; bases rounded; apices divided into 3 broad, blunt lobes; margins entire.

Flowers: Unisexual and bisexual; plants with unisexual male and female flowers on different plants (dioecious), or also with some bisexual flowers (polygamo-dioecious); flowers white, numerous, arranged in large terminal clusters (panicles). Sepals 4–5, oblong to obovate, blunt, falling soon after the flowers open (caducous), 2–3.5 mm long; petals lacking; stamens numerous, filaments 3.5–5 mm long, slightly swollen just below the anthers; pistils 4–15. Flowers bloom in last spring to mid summer.

Fruit: A cluster of small, fusiform achenes, smooth and ridged, 2.5–5 mm long.

Habitat and Range: Stream and riverbanks, marshes, wet meadows and thickets. The tall meadowrue is native to eastern North America; in Ontario, it extends as far north as Hearst.

Internet Images: The Thalictrum pubescens webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Similar Species: Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue) can be recognized by the 5–7 terminal rounded lobes of each leaflet, actually 3 larger lobes each with 2–3 smaller lobes. Thalictrum dasycarpum (purple meadowrue) is most similar to Thalictrum pubescens; both have leaflets with 3-terminal lobes, but the filaments of T. dasycarpum are 1.5–3 mm long and the achenes are covered with short brown hairs.

Compare the tall meadowrue to the Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue) webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society, and the Thalictrum dasycarpum webpage from the Missouriplants.com website.

Comparison of common Thalictrum species in northern Ontario




Thalictrum
pubescens
(tall meadowrue)

Thalictrum dasycarpum
(purple meadowrue)

Thalictrum
dioicum
(early meadowrue)

leaflets

usually with 3 terminal lobes

usually with 5–7 terminal lobes

upper stem leaves

sessile

with distinct petioles

filament colour and shape

white, thickened below the anther

white, slender

purple

anther length

0.8–1.5 mm long

1.5–3.5 mm long

2–3.5 mm long

fruit surface

smooth or hairy

with brownish hairs

smooth

flowering time

summer (June–August)

late spring–summer (Late May–July)

spring (April–May)


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