Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
French meadow rue 'Thundercloud'


Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud', commonly known as meadow rue, is a herbaceous perennial that is valued for its distinctive and attractive aesthetic. It holds a cloud-like profusion of small, fluffy purplish flowers, showcased above the foliage on slender branching stems, giving it an airy and delicate appearance. The flowers have a wispy, ethereal quality to them and usually lack petals but are adorned with tufts of long, showy stamens that provide a unique texture and visual interest. The foliage of the meadow rue resembles that of the columbine with its similar leaf structure. The leaves are attractively dissected and have a delicate, lacey look, with a bluish-green color that makes a striking contrast against the darker stems and the soft hue of the flowers. This contributes to a layered and textured garden experience, where the meadow rue's foliage adds depth and a soft, fern-like appearance beneath the flower clusters. The blooms' subtle coloring and the foliage's intricate detail work together to create a visually pleasing plant that can serve as an excellent background or companion piece in various garden settings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Meadow Rue, Columbine Meadow Rue, Greater Meadow Rue, French Meadow Rue, Garden Meadow Rue.

    • Common names

      Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Meadow Rue, specifically the variety Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud', is not commonly known to be highly toxic to humans. However, as with many plants, it may cause mild stomach upset if ingested due to the presence of various plant compounds. There isn't widespread or detailed information available on severe toxicity symptoms in humans for this particular plant. As a general precaution, it's advised not to consume any part of ornamental plants like Meadow Rue.

    • To pets

      Meadow Rue is not typically listed as a highly toxic plant to pets. If ingested by pets, it may cause mild gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea, similar to how it may affect humans. There is limited information on severe poisoning symptoms in pets from eating Meadow Rue, but as a general safety precaution, it is advisable to prevent pets from ingesting this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (61 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud', commonly known as Meadow Rue, is known for its ability to attract butterflies and other pollinators, enriching the biodiversity of a garden.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: With its tall, fluffy purple flowers and delicate foliage, Meadow Rue adds a distinctive and elegant visual appeal to borders, beds, and woodland gardens.
    • Tolerates Shade: Meadow Rue is suitable for shaded gardens where many other flowering plants may not thrive, making it a versatile choice for different garden layouts.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, Meadow Rue generally requires minimal care, making it an ideal plant for gardeners seeking low-maintenance landscaping options.
    • Deer Resistant: Meadow Rue is not a preferred choice for deer, reducing the risk of damage from foraging wildlife.
    • Height and Texture: Its impressive height and fine-textured foliage make it a useful plant for creating vertical interest and contrast in the garden.
    • Drought Tolerant: Mature plants of Meadow Rue are fairly drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of low water availability.
    • Long Blooming Period: The blooms of Meadow Rue can last for several weeks, offering a prolonged display of color throughout its blooming season.
    • Cottage Garden Fit: Meadow Rue fits in well with the informal and diverse planting style of cottage gardens, complementing a variety of perennials and grasses.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Culinary garnish: The delicate, lacy foliage of Meadow Rue can be used as an ornamental garnish to add an elegant touch to culinary presentations.
    • Natural dye: The flowers and leaves of Meadow Rue can be boiled to create a natural dye for coloring fabrics or yarns in soft shades of green or yellow.
    • Photography: The intricate structure of Meadow Rue's flowers makes it a popular choice among photographers for macro photography and botanical studies.
    • Artistic inspiration: Artists may use Meadow Rue as a muse for paintings, drawings, or textile designs due to its unique and attractive flower clusters.
    • Educational tool: Botany educators can use Meadow Rue to teach students about plant reproduction, specifically the differences between male and female flowers.
    • Floral arrangements: Fresh or dried, Meadow Rue can be included in floral arrangements for events and weddings, offering a whimsical and airy element.
    • Garden design: Designers can utilize Meadow Rue's height and cloud-like blooms to create vertical interest and textural contrast in garden layouts.
    • Potpourri ingredient: Dried flowers and leaves of Meadow Rue can be added to homemade potpourri mixes for a subtle, natural scent.
    • Seed collection: Gardeners might collect seeds from Meadow Rue to trade with other enthusiasts or save for sowing in subsequent gardening seasons.
    • Landscape photography: With its striking presence, Meadow Rue can serve as a focal point or background in landscape photography, showcasing the beauty of a naturalistic garden setting.

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

    • Delicacy: With its fine, lacy foliage and ethereal flowers, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium, commonly known as Meadow Rue 'Thundercloud', often symbolizes delicacy and a gentle nature.
    • Elegance: Meadow Rue has an elegant, flowing form that lends itself to being symbolic of grace and sophistication.
    • Protection: Traditionally, some species of Thalictrum were used for medicinal purposes, including as a defense against evil spirits, symbolizing protection and healing.
    • New Beginnings: The plant's growth in the spring, along with its cloud-like blossoms, can represent rebirth and new beginnings.
    • Peacefulness: The soft, subtle colors and the plant's tendency to sway gently in the breeze can symbolize tranquility and peace.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Meadow rue should be watered thoroughly once a week, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. During the growing season, especially in hot, dry weather, you may need to increase the watering frequency. Each watering session should provide enough water to soak the root zone, which could approximate 1 to 1.5 gallons depending on the plant's size and the soil's moisture retention characteristics. In winter, reduce watering as the plant's growth slows down. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering to avoid overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Meadow rue thrives best in partial shade, ideally receiving filtered sunlight or morning sun followed by afternoon shade. It can also grow in full shade but may produce fewer blooms. Avoid placing Meadow rue in full sun as this can lead to scorching of the leaves and stress the plant, especially in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Meadow rue prefers moderate temperatures and can typically withstand minimum temperatures around 40°F without significant damage. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60°F and 75°F. Meadow rue can tolerate some fluctuation beyond this range, but prolonged exposure to temperatures above 80°F or below freezing can be harmful to the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Meadow rue requires minimal pruning, primarily to remove dead or spent flowers to encourage a second flush of blooms. Pruning can also help maintain the desired shape and size of the plant. The best time to prune Meadow rue is after flowering, typically in late summer or early fall. Avoid heavy pruning as this plant can be delicate and may not recover well from aggressive cutting back.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Meadow Rue 'Thundercloud' thrives in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. A mixture of loamy soil, compost, and perlite can provide the necessary drainage and nutrients. It's important to ensure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.

  • plantRepotting

    Meadow Rue 'Thundercloud' doesn't require frequent repotting as it prefers to be undisturbed. Repot every 3-4 years or when it outgrows its current container, always in the springtime.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Meadow Rue 'Thundercloud' tolerates average to high humidity levels. It thrives best when the surrounding humidity is maintained at 50% or higher, mimicking its natural woodland habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and keep soil consistently moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, enrich soil with compost, keep moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud', commonly known as the columbine meadow rue, starts its life cycle as a seed which germinates in early spring when soil temperatures warm up. Seedlings develop into a rosette of leaves in their first year, establishing a deep root system. In subsequent years, the plant sends up tall, branching stems with lacy, blue-green foliage and striking, purple to dark-pink flowers which typically bloom in early to mid-summer. After pollination, often by wind or insects, flowers produce achenes, a type of dry fruit, which contain the seeds for the next generation. As a perennial, the above-ground growth of columbine meadow rue dies back to the ground in late autumn following the first frosts, while the root system remains dormant through the winter. With the return of warmer weather in spring, new growth emerges from the surviving rootstock, completing the cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud', commonly known as Meadow Rue, is best propagated through seed collection and sowing. The optimal time for sowing Meadow Rue seeds is late winter to early spring, when temperatures can still ensure cold stratification, which is often necessary for germination. The seeds should be sown in a cold frame or on a seedbed with well-drained soil. It's important to only lightly cover the seeds with soil, as they require some light to germinate properly. After sowing, maintain consistent moisture around the seeds until germination, which typically takes place in the spring. Once seedlings have developed sufficiently, they can be transplanted to their final location in the garden.