Skip to content

Help us continue to build this resource.

Thalictrum pubescens

Tall meadow rue, King of the meadow

Plant Details

Common Name: Tall meadow rue, King of the meadow
Family: Ranunculaceae (buttercup family)
Mature Height: 2 - 5'
Sun Requirement: Sun, Sun to part shade, Part shade to shade
Moisture Requirement: Dry - medium, Medium - moist
Flower Color: White
Bloom Time: Early summer (June - July)
Seed Collection Date: Mid summer (July - August)

Thalictrum pubescens tall meadow rue
Thalictrum pubescens tall meadow rue
Thalictrum pubescens tall meadow rue
Thalictrum pubescens tall meadow rue

Click on images to view larger versions


Thalictrum is Greek for a plant whose identity is unknown; pubescens is Latin for hairy.

Native Habitat

River and stream floodplains, forests, marshes, meadows and fields, swamps and wetland margins.

Garden Uses

Tall meadow rue adds height to the garden, has beautiful airy foliage and is useful for attracting pollinators.


This plant is a perennial with grayish green foliage. It thrives in part shade with moist soil. It will grow in dryer and/or sunnier areas, but will yellow earlier. The yellow fall foliage brightens the area where it is grown.

Leaves and Stems

Pinnate leaves (a leaf with multiple pairs of leaflets) with 3 or more leaflets with rounded lobes. This plant has a relatively stout stem.


Summer blooming cream colored to bright white plumes with numerous, showy threadlike stamens that produce a white fluffy effect.


The fruit develops in seed-like rounded clusters that dry but do not split open when ripe. The clusters change from white to purplish, becoming light green, then darker green. As the fruits mature, the ball-shaped head of seeds turns brown.

Animal Associates

Constantly visited by bees and butterflies. Caterpillars of several species of moth feed on the leaves.


This plant grows from rhizomes and may be propagated by separating offsets from the plant while it is dormant in spring or fall. May also be propagated from seeds, some of which may not germinate until the second year. They should be planted as soon as they ripen.

Ethnobotanical Uses

The Iroquois used this plant to treat nosebleeds and the Montagnais used the leaves to flavor salmon.

Garden Location

Library Garden (see garden map)

Anecdotal Information

Deer are problematic to plants growing in the Library Garden, but don't seem to bother others in the woods.


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

Native Plant Trust 

Adirondacks Forever Wild

Plant Profile by Kathy Kling