Thalictrum delavayi

Douglas Justice took today’s photo and wrote the accompanying entry in the final days of last month.

Peter Wharton, late curator of the David C. Lam Asian Garden, collected seed of this fine, if floppy, species in 2006 in Sichuan Province, China, near Hongxi (Hung-hsi) at an altitude of 2780 metres. Thalictrum delavayi is not exactly rare in cultivation, but the double-flowered cultivar, 'Hewitt’s Double', is more often seen than this or other "unimproved" forms. Here the lax stems of the Thalictrum are supported and set off by a planting of Astilbe chinensis.

Thalictrum species (the meadow rues) are easy plants in the Vancouver area, and we grow about a dozen of the 120 or so different species in the Botanical Garden. These herbaceous perennials are common constituents in moist-to-wet meadows and forest margins throughout the Northern Hemisphere, as well as in southern Africa and parts of South America. In leaf and habit, they are somewhat akin to the related columbines (Aquilegia species): they have slender stems with alternately arranged, compound leaves, as well as leaflets in threes (which are usually lobed or deeply toothed at their apices). The flowers of Thalictrum are borne without petals and most are tiny, composed primarily of numerous stamens, and looking basically like little powder-puffs in yellow, white, mauve, pink or purple. However, some—like this species (and T. rochebruneanum, which was previously showcased in these pages )—have flowers with showy petal-like sepals.

Thalictrum delayavi

12 responses to “Thalictrum delavayi”

  1. David Tarrant

    What a beautiful image, and how nice to have a glimpse of this specimen, one of the vast collection of plants which Peter brought to the outstanding Asian Garden at UBC.
    His legacy lives on for all to enjoy.
    Thank you

  2. Meg Bernstein

    An amazing plant family with a wonderful variety of flowers.

  3. The Hollyberry Lady

    Very lovely.
    : )

  4. chico

    What a beautiful photo. The lovely lavender color is so cool and refreshing – a treat on a very hot summer day down here in Alabama!

  5. Christian from PDX

    Is this Thalictrum wind pollinated like Thalictrum occidentalis (I think that is our native in NW)? I wonder if by creating colorful hybrids or cultivars of wind pollinated species would artificially attract insect pollinators.

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely lovely just lovely
    wee little parasols for a childs garden
    we are all thankful for the travelers
    who bring so much joy to our gardens
    tis ever so hot here on the central west coast
    of florida 6:20 and 95 degrees a dry eye day

  7. Hortbeardie

    What a lovely plant! And so different from the
    Thalictrum I am most familiar with. This looks
    a lot more like one of the non-clinging,
    small, nodding-flowered clematis.
    Thanks for the treat.

  8. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Very beautiful.

  9. Alexander Jablanczy

    With rue my heart is laden.

  10. aminu abubakar

    i am very impressed with such a wonderful and lovely plant am glad to be part of such an observation.

  11. dom

    Shouldn’t you say that this particular plant is a male instead of “The flowers of Thalictrum are borne without petals and most are tiny, composed primarily of numerous stamens”? Off the top of my head, I recall Thalictrum is a dioecious genus.

  12. Aida

    Although lacking the vine characteristics, at first glance the blooms resemble alot like the wild clematis found in the foothills of the Rockies more than a columbine. Related?

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