Saturday, June 5, 2010
Waxyleaf Meadowrue - Thalictrum revolutum
Waxyleaf meadowrue (Thalictrum revolutum) is one of four species of this genus of spring ephemeral wildflowers native to Florida. Meadowrues are species much more commonly encountered in states to our north. Waxyleaf meadowrue is no exception. Though it has only been recorded in four Florida counties (three in the central panhandle and in Alachua), it occurs throughout the eastern half of North America and in most states in the Southwest as well.
In Florida, it is confined to deciduous woodland understories. Here it emerges in the early spring, flowers by late April or May and then disappears once the seed are ripened. Some meadowrues are monoecious, but waxyleaf meadowrue is decidedly dioecious. The photo at the top and the very bottom are females while the others are of males. The anthers with their pollen are clearly visible.
At blooming, waxyleaf meadowrue is approximately 3 feet tall. The leaves look a bit like those of columbine and are composed of 3 leaflets. A great many creamy white flowers are produced and these make a wonderful show.
Meadowrues are not being propagated at this time by any of the nurseries affiliated with AFNN - the Association of Florida Native Nurseries, and they are not likely to be any time in the future. A few out-of-state nurseries offer it, but I do not know how they would do here. So, I guess they will remain beautiful rarities, adaptable only to the right type of deciduous woodland setting. With some experimentation, it may be found that this wildflower is equally adaptable as Florida's native columbine, but we have no plans to experiment with it at Hawthorn Hill. But, I will continue to seek it out in the early spring every time I get a chance to "botanize" in north Florida. Who knows, perhaps someday it may be offered by someone and we will all be the richer for it.