Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Plant of the Week: Rue Anenome (Thalictrum thalictroides)

Don't let this delicate and dainty plant fool you because it is one tough native woodland wildflower that will survive almost anything in the shade garden.  It is one of the earliest to flower and in general the earlier flowers are larger and as the season progresses they seem to get smaller and more white.  Flower color varies from pink to white and range in size from 1/2 - 1" wide.  Even the foliage is showy for this species with nice reddish to pinkish colored stems and the three lobed leaves often have a rusty tinge to them.  It only grows to about 4" tall and will spread around the garden, but it takes plenty of time for this to happen.  Like most members of the buttercup family, the showy "petals" you are looking at are not petals, but rather sepals as the petals fall off the flowers in this plant family.  This plant superficially resembles the false rue anenome but that species only has 5 sepals and the leaves occur more in whorls. The scientific name arises from Greek and means, "an unknown plant that is like a Meadow Rue."  This is one of our most common woodland wildflowers and can begin flowering in March and will continue into May.  It is also quite easy to grow and while it doesn't tolerate clay, if you have organic matter and it is well drained and even somewhat dry, this species will do just fine.  Like many woodland plants, the seeds are dispersed by ants and they place them in their nest and it provides an incredible medium, rich in nutrients, for this species to germinate.  Because this is a small and dainty native plant, it will do well in the front of the native woodlands shade garden and good companion plants would be various violets (but not Canada because it is aggressive and invasive), foamflower, Jacob's ladder, or even trout lilies.  This plant is toxic although Native Americans did use it to treat vomitting and other stomach disorders.

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