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