[Meadowrues: The Genus Thalicrtum East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue

Thalictrum occidentale

Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense

Male flower of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

The photo above shows a close-up of the male flower of western meadowrue with its cluster of dangling stamens. Photographed at meadows immediately to the north of Hellroaring Creek adjacent to the Island Springs Trail #66 on Yakama Nation lands at the southeastern corner of Mt. Adams..........July 17, 2005.

Male flower of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)The photo at right shows a close-up of the ovate sepals of a male flower of western meadowrue as seen at MP 31 along the Columbia Gorge Highway to the west of Multnomah Falls..........April 20, 2006.
Characteristics:

The meadow rues have long been used ornamentally as decorative plants in the shade garden. My experience has only been with domesticated varieties which have fine, lacy and glaucous foliage but spread their seed so prolifically that they soon take over the garden. I'm not sure how this native species would behave (hopefully it's more restrained!), but it is smaller in stature where it would blend in better with the chocolate lilies, sour grass, and star-flowered false Solomon's seal.

That said, western meadow rue is an attractive wildflower with erect, lacy-leafed stems arising 40-100 cm high . The herbage ranges from smooth to somewhat glandular hairy. The leaves are found mostly on the stems where they are alternately arranged. Individual leaves are 3-4 times ternately divided, the individual leaflets generally triangular or wedge-shaped with the tips 3-lobed.

The inflorescence is leafy and bracteate with small leaves or bracts among the flowers. Petals are lacking but the 4-5 sepals are 2-3 mm long and greenish-white to purplish in color. The 15-30 stamens of male flowers are pendant, the long thin filaments ranging from 4-8 mm long, tipped with purplish anthers. The ovaries are found on female flowers, with the stigmas measuring 3-4.5 mm long and usually of a purplish color. The fruit consist of 7-11 spreading to reflexed achenes.


Habitat:

Western meadow rue is found in moist coniferous woods at all elevations on both sides of the Cascade Mt. Range.


Range:

Western meadow rue may be found from British Columbia south along both sides of the Cascade Mts. to northern California and east through mountainous areas to the Rocky Mts. from Alberta south to Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.


Female flower of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

The photo above shows a close-up of a female flower of western meadowrue as seen at MP 31 along the Columbia Gorge Highway to the west of Multnomah Falls..........April 20, 2006.

Inflorescence of a female plant of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

The photo above shows a close-up of the inflorescence with numerous, pendant female flowers of western meadowrue as seen at MP 31 along the Columbia Gorge Highway to the west of Multnomah Falls..........April 20, 2006.

Pinnately compound leaf of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Leaflet of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

The photo at left shows a leaf while the photo at right shows a close-up of a leaflet of western meadowrue as seen at MP 31 along the Columbia Gorge Highway to the west of Multnomah Falls...............April 20, 2006.

Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Leaflet of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Reflexed fruits of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

These 3 photos show close-up views of the female flowers and a leaflets of western meadowrue as seen on west-facing slopes below the Ray Ridge Viewpoint in the Umatilla N.F. of southeastern Washington..........July 6, 2008. Note the strongly reflexed achenes.

Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

Western meadowrue blooming in open Oregon white oak - Douglas fir forest at Brooks Memorial State Park off US 97 near Satus Pass......May 13, 2019.

Reflexed fruits of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

Close-ups of the developing, reflexed fruits of western meadowrue as seen along the Umatilla Rim Trail #3080 on the western slopes of High Ridge, Umatilla National Forest..........July 24, 2012.

Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Lower leaf surface of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

Western meadowrue as seen in forest on the north side of Kamiak Butte, Kamiak Butte County Park, Whitman County, Washington.........June 10, 2013.

Mature fruits of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

The achenes of western meadowrue as seen (left) along the Elowah Falls Trail in the western Columbia River Gorge.........July 14, 2006. The photo at right shows the inflorescence with green achenes as seen along the East Fork Lostine River Trail #1662, Eagle Cap Wilderness...........August 4, 2016.

Leaflets of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense) - Achenes of Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

Western meadowrue as seen in the first mile of the Maxwell Lake Trail #1674, Eagle Cap Wilderness..........August 3, 2016. Note that the achenes are reflexed.

Western Meadowrue, Western Meadow-rue: Thalictrum occidentale (Synonyms: Thalictrum occidentale var. macounii, Thalictrum occidentale var. occidentale, Thalictrum occidentale var. palousense)

Maturing achenes of western meadowrue as seen along the Lick Creek Trail #1809, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area......July 17, 2019.

Paul Slichter