Some plant common names baffle me, making little sense no matter how I try to understand them. The majority are yeoman-like, duly performing a necessary duty, but often requiring a passing familiarity with the plant to make some sense. A few, however, are transcendent, representing the plant in a way that describes it so perfectly that it could not be improved upon. Sunflower and bleeding heart are two well-known examples of the last category, and I would argue that this plant’s common name be added: “lavender mist”.
Thalictrum rochebrunianum is a native of Japan. In the Asian Garden, it grows to a height of 2.5m or 7 feet, and is best grown as a mass of plants to get the full effect of the flowers, as shown here.
As a genus, Thalictrum is commonly known as the meadow-rues. One of the characteristics of the genus that differs it from many others in its family, the Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), is that the flowers lack nectar-producing structures (nectaries). Other members of the family without nectaries include Anemone and Clematis, but they remain insect-pollinated, while Thalictrum generally relies on the wind.