Thalictrum lucidum is a less well known species of meadow rue. It has foliage that is rather different than most other species, instead of broad glaucous, columbine-like leaves, it sports luscious deep green, fern-like foliage. The leaves are highly polished and are perfectly described by one of its common names, ‘Shining Meadow Rue’. In autumn the foliage turns brilliant golden-yellow.
In mid-summer the plant is festooned with a superb array of fragrant flower stems, topped with airy puffs of soft cream flowers each with bright yellow stamens.
Despite their delicate appearance, Thalictrum lucidum is fairly tolerant of warm, humid summers. They prefer a rich, humus rich soil on the moist side and light, dappled sun, but will grow reasonably well in most borders and tolerates partial shade. In warm regions plants will tolerate full sun if kept moist.
Easy to grow with little maintenance, these long lasting perennials flower in the same summer when sown early, otherwise will flower in their second season. With a strongly upright habit the plants typically grow 120 to 150cm (48 to 60in) tall, they can stand up on their own and never needs staking. Clumps may be easily divided in spring or autumn.
Thalictrum lucidum is an exceptionally beautiful perennial and a superb border plant. It looks good when combined with tall grasses and is suitable for a shaded position in the garden. In midsummer, they add a marvellous, gentle effect when combined with larger flowered plants and provide an excellent contrast to more stately formal plants.
They produce a shimmering hazy effect in beds and borders, wildflower gardens or meadows, in woodland or in stream-side settings. Both the leaves and flowers are good for flower arrangements.
Sowing: Sow February to April / August to September.
Sow in pots or trays containing John Innes seed compost, or some similar free draining compost.
Sow indoors at 13 to 16°C (55 to 60°F), “Just cover” the seed with vermiculite or sieved compost.
The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times. Germination should occur between 15 to 21 days
Thin (prick out) to 7.5cm (3in) pots when seedlings have developed two proper leaves and are large enough to handle. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out. Space 45cm (18in) apart.
The thalictrums prefer cool places, in semi shade they will grow well in deep soil. If in full sun they will require moist but not wet ground. In open, exposed areas the plants may need to be supported. In areas with severe winters, winter protection is suggested.
To make sure the plants remain vigorous divide them every two to three years as soon as growth begins in spring. (March to April). Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders. Shaded Gardens
Thalictrum lucidum is native to the south-eastern half of Europe and Asia Minor. It grows in moist to wet meadows, floodplain forests or coastal scrub.
The genus of Thalictrum is quite large with between 100 and 200 species. One of the characteristics of the genus that differentiates it from many others in its family, the Ranunculaceae, is that the flowers lack nectar-producing structures (nectaries). Other members of the family without nectaries include Anemone and Clematis, but they remain insect-pollinated, while Thalictrum relies on the wind.
The genus name Thalictrum is taken from the Greek thaliktron, a name used to describe a plant with divided leaves, and a name given to the genus by Dioscorides, the Greek physician and pharmacologist who wrote the Materia Medica, which remained the leading pharmacological text for sixteen centuries.
The species name lucidum derives from the Latin adjective lucidus meaning glossy, clear or shining.
Despite their common name of 'meadow-rue', Thalictrum species are unrelated to the true rue (family Rutaceae), but resemble its members in having the petiole twice or thrice divided.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 25 seeds Family Ranunculaceae Genus Thalictrum Species lucidum Common Name Shining Meadow Rue Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Cream flowers with bright yellow stamens. Natural Flower Time Mid summer. Foliage Deep green, fern-like foliage. Height 120 to 150cm (48 to 60in) Spacing 30 to 60cm (12 to 24in) Position Full sun or partial shade Soil Moist, fertile soil