Chinese Meadow Rue Thalictrum delavayi

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
Chinese meadow rue


Thalictrum delavayi, commonly known as Chinese meadow rue, is a perennial plant known for its delicate and ornamental appearance. It typically has an upright growth habit with a robust, branching structure. The leaves of the Chinese meadow rue are finely divided and resemble those of a maidenhair fern, bearing a soft and feathery texture. They are often bluish-green in color, adding a cool, airy quality to the plant's presence. During blooming season, Chinese meadow rue produces an abundance of flowers that contribute to its ethereal beauty. The flowers are small and airy, with a unique, fluffy look. They lack true petals; instead, they flaunt showy stamens that carry a powdery appearance, providing an almost cloud-like cluster in shades of lavender or light purple. These flowering clusters are borne on slender, wiry stems that can give the plant a delicate, frothy appearance as they sway in the breeze. In addition to its attractive foliage and flowers, the Chinese meadow rue has an open, transparent character, allowing other plants and flowers to show through, making it an excellent companion in mixed garden settings. It can cast a soft purple haze over the garden when in full bloom, adding depth and interest to the landscape. The overall visual effect of Chinese meadow rue is one of a graceful and whimsical plant, with a romantic allure that can soften garden edges and add a touch of lightness to plant compositions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Chinese Meadow Rue, Yunnan Meadow Rue, Delavay's Meadow Rue

    • Common names

      Thalictrum dipterocarpum, Thalictrum delavayi var. decorum, Thalictrum delavayi f. multiplex.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Chinese meadow rue, or Thalictrum delavayi, does not have a well-documented profile concerning toxicity to humans. However, as with many plants, it could potentially cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. If consumed in large amounts, it may lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Always exercise caution and avoid ingesting parts of ornamental plants unless they are known to be edible.

    • To pets

      Chinese meadow rue may not be commonly reported as toxic to pets, but as with humans, it's generally advisable to prevent pets from ingesting this or any ornamental plant. Consumption could potentially result in mild gastrointestinal upset, evidenced by symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. If you suspect your pet has ingested a significant amount of any plant and is showing adverse symptoms, contact a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-8 feet (0.91-2.44 meters)

    • Spread

      1-3 feet (0.30-0.91 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Thalictrum delavayi, also known as Chinese meadow rue, adds visual interest to a garden with its delicate, lacy foliage and tall, airy flower spikes.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of Chinese meadow rue attract butterflies and bees, supporting local pollinator populations.
    • Versatility in the Garden: It can be used in a variety of garden settings, including borders, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas.
    • Low Maintenance: Chinese meadow rue requires minimal care once established, making it a good choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Thalictrum delavayi is relatively drought tolerant, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Seasonal Interest: It offers seasonal interest with its blooms in mid to late summer and its foliage which can turn yellow in the fall.
    • Height and Texture: With its tall stems and feathery leaves, it provides both height and texture to garden designs, allowing for layered planting schemes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Thalictrum delavayi has been used in traditional medicine for its potential anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Antitumor: Compounds extracted from the plant have been studied for their potential antitumor properties.
    • Immunomodulatory: The plant may have immunomodulatory effects, impacting immune system responses.
    • Hepatoprotective: Some studies suggest that Thalictrum delavayi could have liver-protecting qualities.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Thalictrum delavayi, commonly known as Chinese meadow rue, can be used as a natural dye due to the pigments in its leaves and flowers, creating soft shades of green and yellow.
    • With its fern-like foliage and airy flower clusters, Chinese meadow rue is a popular choice for adding a delicate touch to dry flower arrangements and bouquets.
    • The plant's tall and straight stems can be incorporated into garden supports or trellises when dried, helping guide the growth of climbing plants.
    • Incorporated into potpourri, the dried leaves and flowers of Chinese meadow rue can add both visual appeal and a subtle fragrance to the mixture.
    • Garden visual interest can be enhanced with Chinese meadow rue by creating shaded garden patterns; its shadow cast by sunlight can create intricate designs on the ground or nearby surfaces.
    • The plant's seeds may be used in arts and crafts for adding textures or as natural beads when dried properly.
    • Chinese meadow rue can help in soil stabilization for areas prone to erosion due to their extensive root system.
    • It can provide a natural, informal screening in a garden when planted in groups, offering privacy while maintaining an airy feel.
    • As a habitat plant, Chinese meadow rue can offer shelter and breeding spots for beneficial insects within an eco-friendly garden or insectary border.
    • Its presence can be used to study the adaptation of plant life in shaded environments as part of environmental science education programs.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Meadow Rue is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Meadow Rue is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Elegance: Thalictrum delavayi, also known as Chinese Meadow Rue, has delicate, lace-like foliage and airy clouds of tiny flowers, which give it an overall impression of grace and sophistication.
    • Subtleness: Unlike bolder, larger flowers, the petite blossoms of the Chinese Meadow Rue require closer inspection to be fully appreciated, symbolizing the beauty of subtlety.
    • Lightness: The fine texture and the way the flower clusters seem to float above the foliage give Thalictrum delavayi a sense of lightness and ethereality.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late winter to early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Chinese meadow rue prefers consistently moist soil, so it's important to water it regularly. During the growing season, keep the soil evenly moist by watering it with about 1 inch of water per week. If the weather is particularly hot or dry, you may need to increase the frequency to twice a week, but be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot. Always check the top layer of the soil for moisture before adding more water to avoid waterlogging.

  • sunLight

    The Chinese meadow rue thrives in partial shade to full sun conditions. It should be planted in a spot that receives morning sunlight but is protected from the harsh afternoon sun, especially in hotter climates. Dappled sunlight beneath open-branched trees is ideal for this plant, where it can receive natural light without being exposed to intense, direct rays.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Chinese meadow rue does well in a wide range of temperatures but prefers a temperate climate. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 5 degrees Fahrenheit but grows best when daytime temperatures are between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure that the plant is protected from extreme cold and frost, which can damage its delicate foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Chinese meadow rue benefits from pruning to maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth. Prune the plant in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove dead or damaged stems and cut back up to one-third of the plant to stimulate fresh growth. Deadheading spent flowers will also encourage more blooms. Pruning is typically only necessary once a year unless shaping is required during the growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Chinese meadow rue, or Thalictrum delavayi, thrives in a soil mix that is fertile, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. A good mix would be equal parts garden soil, peat moss, and perlite. The ideal pH range for Chinese meadow rue is slightly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Chinese meadow rue does not require frequent repotting; it can be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current container. Ensure fresh fertile soil is used each time to encourage healthy growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Chinese meadow rue prefers moderate to high humidity levels. Maintaining a humidity around 50-60% is ideal for the plant to thrive, as it simulates its natural environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and ensure high humidity for best growth.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade with moist, well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Thalictrum delavayi, commonly known as Chinese meadow rue, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in spring when the conditions are moist and cool. Upon germination, the seedling develops a root system and foliage, gradually forming a basal clump of delicate, fern-like leaves. As it matures, it sends up tall flowering stems in mid to late summer, which bear small, fluffy, lavender to lilac flowers with prominent stamens that give the plant an airy appearance. After pollination, typically by wind or insects, the flowers develop into achenes, which are small, dry, one-seeded fruits that disperse to propagate the next generation. During autumn, the aboveground parts of the plant die back, while the root system remains dormant through the winter. Come spring, the plant regrows from the perennial rootstock to complete the cycle once again.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late winter to early spring

    • Propogation: Thalictrum delavayi, commonly known as Chinese meadow rue, is typically propagated via seed. The seeds can be sown directly outdoors in either fall or spring. If sowing in the spring, the seeds may require stratification to break dormancy, which involves chilling them in a refrigerator for several weeks. This pre-treatment mimics the natural cycle of freezing and thawing that the seeds would experience outdoors. When sowing, place the seeds on the surface of a well-draining seed starting mix, as they need light to germinate. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Seedlings will emerge in several weeks and can be thinned out or transplanted to their final location once they're large enough to handle.