Wildflower Wednesday Interloper

Columbine Meadow-rue with Columbine
On the right in this picture, does everyone recognize the red and yellow flowers of Aquilegia canadensis, a native columbine?

On the left in this picture, does everyone recognize the purple flowers of the Wildflower Wednesday interloper, Thalictrum aquilegifolium, a non-native flower known as Columbine Meadow-Rue?   It's from Eastern Europe/Asia.

I consider it an interloper because it is growing in an area of the garden where I thought I had planted only native woodland plants, dug up several years ago in an area of a woods which was going to be dammed up to form a large 15 acre lake.

That's the only reason I was madly digging up some wildflowers from the woods and moving them to my garden.  They were going to be flooded out, forever.  Never dig up wildflowers unless there is no other hope for them. Ever.

Thalictrum aquilegifolium is not a native wildflower.  So, it was either an invasive species in the woods or I bought it and planted it in this general area.  I can't remember. I'd have to look through boxes and boxes of plant tags to figure it out.

Someday, I will.

In the meantime, I do like the foliage of Columbine Meadow-rue, I won't lie about that.
Columbine Meadow-rue foliage
It is light and airy and almost fern-like, not unlike columbine.  Hence the species name "aquilegifolium".

It makes me wonder if this meadow-rue had been found and named first, would columbine have been named "thalictrumfolium"?

Something to ponder.  

Once I figured out that Columbine Meadow-rue is not a native wildflower, I changed my mind on allowing it to go to seed and scatter itself about.
Columbine Meadow-rue flowers going to seed
Instead, I will dead head it and watch it closely so it doesn't crowd out the true columbine foliage in the garden.

Columbine foliage
We should always be watchful of interlopers, making sure to check the invasive plant list for our area before adding new plants to our gardens, even those we buy at the garden centers.  The nursery trade does not always keep up with the invasive plant lists for all areas, so some invasive plants can still be purchased.

I checked Indiana's list of invasive plants and did not find the Columbine meadow-rue on it, so I'm keeping it.

But I'm watching it.  And I'm going to dead-head it to keep it from spreading.

If you'd like to read more about wildflowers, check out Wildflower Wednesday, hosted on the fourth Wednesday of the month by Gail at Clay and Limestone.


  1. I've been keeping an eye on my new yard for any such interlopers. Some of the plants up in the Northeast are still unfamiliar to me, so I often end up wondering if something is a weed or a real plant! (I have been known to tenderly nurture weeds at various times...) It's hard, as something that is well-behaved in one part of the country can be quite invasive in another part. Your interloper is quite pretty, though. Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

  2. Good information in your wonderful Carol style! Don't dig wildflowers and get rid of the invasives! xoxoxogail PS the foliage is lovely.

  3. I didn't realize Meadow Rue wasn't a native--I had a some growing a couple of years ago, but it disappeared. I do think it's pretty, though, and the foliage is lovely.

    I'm amazed sometimes at some of the plants for sale at garden centers--I want to put little warning tags on them and say "don't plant this or you'll be sorry"! I'm still regretting planting Obedient Plant:)

  4. I have many interlopers here as we battle the invasive species that seem to take a strong hold in the garden like teasel, thistle, Queen Anne's lace and non-native honeysuckle to name a few. I have planted some non-natives that we have removed because they are on a list or a problem like butterfly bush and barberry.

  5. Love the columbine meadow rue...I have a shade garden with fern, columbine, hostas and a row of podocarpus on the north-side of my house...I wonder if I could grow it there?

  6. Rose, some meadow rues are native, just not that one.

  7. It is a garden flower here in the uk which we pay good money for at a nursery ! I love it's fluffy airiness and it is useful as it performs in shade.

    I wonder if we have any native wildflowers here which are prized by gardeners in other countries ? Native primroses, cowslips , bluebells perhaps ?


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!