Thalictrum ‘Anne’ is a seedling from the supposedly sterile thalictrum ‘Elin’ and is said to be an improvement on it. Like ‘Elin’ it makes an imposing specimen plant reaching between 200 and 300cm in height, often without the need for staking. The foliage emerges well coloured, turning a good blue as the season progresses but retaining dark purple stems. Flower heads are well sized with pink buds opening to fluffy cream. Prefers a somewhat shaded position and a soil that doesn’t dry out.
Meadow Rue – Thalictrum
The genus Thalictrum contains species from across the Northern Temperate zone varying greatly in height. Heights go from species like Thalictrum kiusianum suitable for the rock garden to Thalictrum delaveyi which will, in ideal situations, tops 7 or 8 feet high. They are natural inhabitants of damp meadows and stream banks and are valued both for their airy flowerheads and for their delicate foliage which can be as fine as a maidenhair fern.
Often the colour of the flowers is provided by the stamens rather than the petals with the flower head presenting a fluffy mass. This is exemplified in Thalictrum aquilegifolium. The reason for the diminishing of the petals is that the flowers are wind pollinated rather than insect pollinated. Some of the taller species, such as Thalictrum rochebrunianum and Thalictrum delaveyi still have petals of visual significance. They both have the flower presenting both pink petals and showy yellow anthers.
The thalicrums are a hardy race and mostly of easy cultivation. Their main need is for moisture. They will all grow well in light shade, though the taller species do better if planted in some sun, providing they are in a soil that doesn’t dry out. Species such as Thalictrum rochebrunianum can be slow to establish in drier sites. Annual mulching with compost or well-rotted manure can be very beneficial as well as not cultivating close to the roots.
The American species can often exhibit flowers that are dioecious (ie male and female on different plants) a situation that often occurs also in Thalictrum aquilegifolium.
Thalictrum is the Greek name for this plant