French Meadow-rue, Columbine Meadow-rue, Greater Meadow-rue

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thalictrum (tha-LIK-trum) (Info)
Species: aquilegiifolium (ak-wil-egg-ee-FOH-lee-um) (Info)
Synonym:Thalictrum aquilegifolium



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Juneau, Alaska

Willow, Alaska

Clayton, California

Crescent City, California

San Francisco, California

Twin Falls, Idaho

Bolingbrook, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Ames, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Onekama, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)

Grandview, Missouri

Ithaca, New York

Wallkill, New York

Brookpark, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Medina, Ohio

Eugene, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Osceola, Pennsylvania

Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Christiana, Tennessee

Arlington, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Huntington, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Muscoda, Wisconsin

Waterloo, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 12, 2013, mehitabel45 from Whidbey Island, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

It did well for me for only a year, then was smaller last year, and this year didn't come back. Too much sand and not enough water is my best guess of how I killed this off. It was so beautiful, though, I will try again in another spot with less sun and more compost and water. The lovely flowers were like stars in the air above the other plants. I highly recommend it!


On May 21, 2013, UMD_Terp from Central, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

This a wonderful plant. I only have one and it has never seeded. I was shocked to see it listed as possibly invasive. Truth be told, I wish it was invansive.

Gorgeous plant. Mine thrives in part shade.


On Jul 19, 2011, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Foliage looks very much like columbine, but stays fresher looking all season. Airy pink blooms, in May-June in my garden.


On Mar 8, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Grows about 4-5 feet tall in my part sun garden and has very nice heads of pink flowers which look like clouds. Very nice in the spring garden easy to care for and I've never had it self sow for me, but I've moved it around a number of times in the 5 or so years I've had it so maybe that has something to do with it. A great and easy plant!


On Nov 12, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I don't even remember planting this, but each year when it comes up beside the house in the corner garden, it puts on such a delightful show.

Basically I give it no care and leave it alone. The soil is well drained but fairly moist and receives full sun.


On Aug 20, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

A perennial plant giving flowers in spring and early summer. It likes full Sun and a moist humus-rich soil. Propagate by the division of clumps. pokerboy.


On Jun 30, 2004, llebpmac_bob from Zephyr
Canada wrote:

It's taken three years to get this plant to flower (probably because I don't usually water my garden) and it still only has two flower heads this year but I love it now that I've seen it in bloom and am looking forward to it getting bigger next year. I hit -35 F last year and it came through with flying colours even though our snow cover was less than usual.
Now I just have to remember to point the clematis in a different direction next spring because it's climbing up the Thalictrum right now.

The flower colour is mauve, a colour which has a bad name, but I like it. I tend to work in pastels if given a choice, and this one fits in nicely with the predominantly pink and blue of my spring/early summer garden.


On May 25, 2004, MN_Darren from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

This is the easiest of the Thalictrums to grow. It can even be invasive. But, imagine a world taken over by T. aquilegifolium.... If you like the leaves of columbines, but don't like all the leaf miners and decaying foliage after bloom, this close cousin is an excellent plant. The foliage is really attractive and helps create a woodland feel for a shady area. They tolerate strong sun, but need water to compensate. The darker pink they are, the better. The almost white cultivars are just not that nice. The deep mauve 'Thundercloud' is stunning.

Seed heads are fairly attractive, so I leave them until they start ripening and turning brown. Remove them or you'll have them all over the place. They do not spread from the roots. An individual plant will form a clump abo... read more


On Sep 7, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant makes a good vertical accent in light shade. It can self-seed invasively if not deadheaded, though.


On Jun 11, 2001, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Clump forming, flowers are pink, lilacr or greenish white and are fluffy clusters on strong stems. Gray geen leaves comprise small, elliptical, toothed leaflets in a feather like arrangement. Blooms in summer.