Thalictrum ‘Elin’ is a fine cross between T.rochebrunianum and T.flavum glaucum which makes the most striking of all the tall Thalictrums. A sterile hybrid, it produces stiff tall 2.6m dark stems which carry steely blue foliage below and a branched cloud of yellow and lavender flowers above. Despite its size Thalictrum ‘Elin’ rarely needs staking.
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