waxy leaf meadow-rue

(Thalictrum revolutum)

Conservation Status

 

No image available

 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Waxy leaf meadow-rue is a 3 to 7 tall, erect, perennial, foul-smelling forb that rises from rhizomes. Staminate flowers (male) and pistillate flowers (female) are borne on separate plants. It often forms colonies.

Stems are erect, stout, hairless, and covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous). They are occasionally branched in the upper half. They are green when young becoming reddish purple with maturity.

The leaves are alternate. Lower stem leaves are on leaf stalks, middle and upper leaves are stalkless. They are 3 or 4 times ternate—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 leathery, variable in shape, to 2 long, ¼ to 2 wide, 1 to 5 times, but usually no more than 2¾ times, as long as wide. The larger leaflets are divided into 2 to 5 but usually 2 or 3 lobes. The lobes are untoothed or occasionally have a few additional teeth. Smaller leaflets may be unlobed. The margins are rolled backward toward the underside. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is covered with whitish glandular hairs making it whitish and waxy in appearance, and has a network of conspicuous, prominent (raised) veins. When crushed the stems and leaves produce a skunk-like smell.

The male inflorescence is a large, open, showy, branched cluster at the end of the stems and branches. It is up to 2 tall and 1 wide.

Male flowers have usually 4 but up to 6 whitish 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 white filaments and yellow anthers. The flowers do not produce petals or nectar to attract insects. They are wind pollinated.

The fruit is an achene a little over long.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

3 to 7

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Whitish

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Tall meadow-rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) has hairy but not glandular lower leaf surfaces. The foliage is not skunk-scented.

Early meadow-rue (Thalictrum doicum) is a much smaller plant, 12 to 28 at maturity. All leaves, including middle and upper leaves, are on long stalks. The leaflets have 3 to 12 often round-toothed lobes. The flowers bloom earlier, April to May. It is found in woodlands, not prairies.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies, thickets, open woods. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to July

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

3, 4, 5, 28.

 
         
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  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  
 

Order

Ranunculales (buttercups, poppies, and allies)  
 

Family

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

Genus

Thalictrum (meadow-rue)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
       
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Thalictrum amphibolum

Thalictrum hepaticum

Thalictrum moseleyi

Thalictrum revolutum var. glandulosior

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

purple meadowrue

skunk meadowrue

waxy leaf meadow-rue

waxy meadowrue

waxyleaf meadowrue

waxyleaf meadow-rue

wax-leaved meadowrue

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

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.

 

Glaucous

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

 

Ternate

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

       
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