veiny meadow-rue

(Thalictrum venulosum)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Veiny meadow-rue is a 12 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from the upturned end of a rhizome. Staminate flowers (male) and pistillate flowers (female) are borne on separate plants.

Stems are erect, hairless or nearly hairless.

Stem leaves are alternate. Stem leaves below the inflorescence are on leaf stalks. Those subtending the inflorescence branches are stalkless. They are 3 or 4 times ternately compound—divided into 3 main divisions (ternate), each division further divided into 3 segments (biternate), each segment further divided into 3 leaflets (triternate), or once more divided. The leaflets are to 1¾ wide and wider than long. They are round or inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end. The leaflets have round-toothed lobes. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is hairless but has short, rounded, nipple-like glandular bumps or projections.

The inflorescence is a dense, narrow, cluster with ascending branches that appears at the end of the stems and branches.

Male flowers have 5 greenish-white, spreading, petal-like sepals. There are no petals. They droop at the end of short stalks. The sepals often drop off early leaving about 12 stamens with colored, not white, filaments and anthers. The flowers do not produce petals or nectar to attract insects. They are wind pollinated.

The fruit is an achene about long.




12 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Early meadow-rue (Thalictrum doicum) flowers bloom earlier, April to May.

Purple meadow-rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) is a much taller plant, 3 to 5 at maturity. Middle and upper leaves are stalkless. The leaflets are as long as wide, or, more commonly, longer than wide. The leaflet lobes are untoothed or occasionally have a few additional teeth.

Waxy leaf meadow-rue (Thalictrum revolutum) stems are glaucous. Leaflet margins are rolled backward to the underside. The lower leaflet surface is covered with glandular hairs giving it a whitish, waxy appearance, and has a conspicuous network of raised veins.


Wet to moderate moisture. Forests, shores, river banks, stream banks. Full to partial sun.




June to July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Ranunculanae  


Ranunculales (buttercups, poppies, and allies)  


Ranunculaceae (buttercup)  
  Subfamily Thalictroideae (columbines and meadow-rues)  


Thalictrum (meadow-rues)  

Minnesota’s veiny meadow rue has been classified as Thalictrum venulosum, Thalictrum venulosum var. confine, or sometimes Thalictrum confine. The names were used inconsistently. A study (Mitchell, 1988) was conducted in an attempt to resolve the longstanding confusion. T. confine was traditionally distinguished from T. venulosum by the larger fruit that is hooked at the top (falcate). The study determined that the fruits were variable and close enough in morphology as to not warrant separation. The author chose to recognize a single variable (polymorphic) species, T. venulosum.


Subordinate Taxa






Thalictrum confine

Thalictrum confine var. columbianum

Thalictrum confine var. greeneanum

Thalictrum occidentale var. columbianum

Thalictrum turneri

Thalictrum venulosum var. confine

Thalictrum venulosum var. fissum

Thalictrum venulosum var. lunellii

Thalictrum venulosum var. turneri


Common Names


boundary meadow-rue

early meadowrue

northern meadow-rue

veiny meadowrue

veiny meadow-rue

veiny-leaf meadow-rue













A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



Refers to leaves that are divided into three leaflets or sections.

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