Delicate Beauty

Thalictrum “Elin”

(Meadow-rue)

On a silvery green, robust stem almost 2 metres high, this giant bears surprisingly tiny flowers – clouds of delicate petals in pretty pastels resembling spring blossoms. Thalictrum hybrid “Elin”, a cross between Thalictrum rochebrunnianum and Thalictrum flavum, is easy to miss without some kind of background – here some tall grass, which also provides some shade from mid-June onwards.

 Thalictrum has a long flowering period – June to August if the heat doesn’t get to it – and this one is very hardy, having already survived four bitter winters as well as a few long periods of drought. I have never watered it, fed it, cut it back or given it any attention at all, yet it rewards me with its beauty every year.

By the way, although the common name in English is Meadow-rue, it is not a member of the rue family.

34 thoughts on “Delicate Beauty

  1. I so agree with Robin, it is hard to capture the beauty of plants like this and you have done it! Stunning photos really! I love this plant and it is blooming in my shade garden right now. However, it is in almost full shade and grew to about 8-9 feet tall (I guess reaching for the sun) before it bloomed. However, that bloom broke so I cut it off but then a couple of weeks later it sent out another bloom that is at 2 meters. Perfect! I didn’t know they could bloom for such a long time!

    • With mine it really depends on the weather… it may last another 2 or even three weeks if the temperatures don’t climb again, but any strong sun ruins those delicate petals.

  2. Just lovely, Cathy!
    I planted a meadow rue once, long ago, and moved away from that house before I ever saw it flower. Hadn’t thought of it since, until you posted this. Wonder if it survived its next gardener….

  3. I have a special love of tiny flowers. I admire that you know the names of things even the “real” names. I have been taking pictures of plants, flowers and then try to play match that plant. My wondering self wonders why it is called Meadow-rue wh?en it is not of the rue family

    • Well, I suppose it looks a bit like common rue – silvery green foliage and tiny flowers. I expect that’s why it got its name. But common rue is a herb, and as far as I know it is always yellow… ? 😀

  4. Your mentioning (meadow-)rue reminds me of the poem by A.E. Houseman:

    With rue my heart is laden
    For golden friends I had,
    For many a rose-lipt maiden
    And many a lightfoot lad.

    By brooks too broad for leaping
    The lightfoot boys are laid;
    The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
    In fields where roses fade.

    • That’s a lovely, if somewhat sad, poem Steve. Thanks! Any idea if the word “rue” is connected to the plant? I know from Shakespeare that it is a symbol of “rue” as in regret.

      • The two words are unrelated. The ‘regret’ sort of rue is a native English word, while the ‘type of plant’ rue comes from Latin and probably Greek. As the Online Etymology Dictionary says about the plant: “The bitter taste of its leaves led to many punning allusions to” the ‘regret’ sort of rue.

  5. Pingback: September Candle | Words and Herbs

  6. Your mention of meadow-rue reminds me of this poem by A.E. Housman:

    With rue my heart is laden
    For golden friends I had,
    For many a rose-lipt maiden
    And many a lightfoot lad.

    By brooks too broad for leaping
    The lightfoot boys are laid;
    The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
    In fields where roses fade.

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