Thalictrum revolutum

Waxyleaf Meadowrue

Waxyleaf Meadowrue, Photo courtesy USDA Plants Database and William S. Justice
Waxyleaf Meadowrue
Photo courtesy USDA Plants Database
and William S. Justice

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Thalictrum, from the Greek, qaliktron (thaliktron), name for the European meadowrue Thalictrum minus.
  • revolutum, from the Latin, revolvo, "to roll back; unroll; to revolve"
  • Common Name from the habitat of some Thalictrum (though not necessarily this one) and rue, from the Anglo-Saxon rúde, and the Peloponnesian Greek `ruth (hrute), a name originally given to Ruta graveolens and later applied to a host of plants with bitter leaves.
  • Other common names include Purple Meadowrue, Skunk Meadowrue, Waxy Meadowrue


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons 
      • Subclass Magnoliidae
        • Order Ranunculales, the Buttercups
          • Family Ranunculaceae, the Buttercups, with Actaea, the Baneberries, Clematis, Coptis (Gold Thread), Delphinium (Larkspurs), Hepatica, Ranunculus (Buttercups), and Thalictrum (Meadow Rues).
            • Genus Thalictrum, the Meadowrues; about 100 species of perennial herbaceous plants, from the North Temperate Zone, South America, and Africa.
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 18660
  • Also known as Thalictrum amphibolum, Thalictrum hepaticum, Thalictrum moseleyi


  • A ¼, ½, ¾, º, é
  • Leaves cauline, proximal leaves petiolate, distal sessile; petioles and rachises stipitate-glandular to glabrous. Leaf blade 1-4×-ternately compound; leaflets grayish or brownish green or dark to bright green, lanceolate, elliptic, ovate, reniform to obovate, apically undivided or 2-3(-5)-lobed, 9-60 × 5-50 mm, length 0.9-2.7(-5.25) times width, usually leathery, margins often revolute, lobe margins entire; surfaces abaxially with sessile to stalked glands or muriculate to whitish papillose.
  • Stem erect, coarse, 20"-60"
  • Roots
  • Flowers in elongated, multi-flowered racemes or panicles. Flowers usually unisexual, with male (staminate) and female (pistillate) on different plants.
    • Sepals sepals 4(-6), whitish, ovate to oblanceolate, (2-)3-4 mm; filaments white, slightly clavate, 2.5-7.8 mm, ± flexible; anthers (0.7-)1.2-2.7(-3) mm, blunt to apiculate.
    • Petals
    • Stamens
    • Pistils
    • Ovary superior (within blossom) inferior (below flower)
  • Fruit 8-16 a lanceolate to ellipsoid achenes, 3.5mm-5 mm, unstalked to slightly stalked, and prominently veined; surface usually stipitate-glandular; beak generally persistent and about equal to length of achene body.
  • Seed


  • Identifiable as
  • Distinguished from
  • Field Marks


  • Northeastern Minnesota along the southern shores of the Great Lakes to New York and Massachusetts, south to Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Also the Black Hills and Cenral Rockies.


  • Dry open woods, brushy banks, thickets, barrens, and prairies



  • Trees:
  • Shrubs:
  • Herbs:
  • Ground Covers:
  • Mammals:
  • Birds:




  • Sexually by seed
  • Flowers
  • Assexually by


  • By rhizome division,


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Light:
    • Soil:
    • Water:
    • Spacing:
    • Fertilization:
  • Size 12"-18"W x 12"-18"H
  • Growth rate
  • Good for
  • Cultivars include
    • variety 'Alba', with
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries



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Last Updated on 29 September, 2002