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Species Name:  Thalictrum dioicum

Common Name: Early Meadow Rue

Zone: 3 to 8

Distribution: Quebec to Manitoba south to South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Missouri

Seed collection:  Seed matures in late May in upstate New York.  EMR is strictly dioecious with seed produced only on female plants. The seed ripens inside of a green papery husk in clusters on the old flower stalks. The seed does not change color at maturity. This makes it difficult to determine when the seed is mature. Monitor the seed closely at this time.  Begin harvesting the seed when it separates easily from the plant. Hand strip all of the seed form the plant at this time. 

Seed handling: Seed should be stripped from the female plants as soon as the seed easily  separates from the plant when touched.  This is the best indication of maturity.
Seed may be kept dry for a short period of time but dry seed loses viability fairly quickly under dry storage.  Seed should be placed under moist stratification to maintain seed moisture levels.  Cold stratify seed for 1 to 3 months to break seed dormancy.

Germination requirements: Seed stratified for 1 to 3 months should germinate in high percentages the first spring. Some seed may germinate the following year. Seed can be sown in natural soil in the fall or broadcast in suitable habitat soon after collecting or stratified seed can be planted in the spring before germination begins. Seed may also be plated in prepared beds.  Provide shade  for seedlings and young plants.

Ecology: Early meadow rue grows in the forest understory.  It prefers rich moist woodland soils but can also be found growing in drier rocky upland forests.  It is a member of the buttercup family and its foliage contains toxic compounds that deter hibivory.  It exhibits a strong resistance to deer browsing.  Several moths use EMR as a hosts plant.  It is easy to collect the seed and use it establish it under natural conditions. It should be encouraged as a component of the herbaceous layer in natural forests.  

Harvest seed when it easily separates from the stems.

Early meadow Rue
Early Meadow Rue seedlings

This page updated December 17, 2013