Thalictrum flavum

Thalictrum flavum, known by the common names common meadow-rue,[2][3] and yellow meadow-rue,[4] is a flowering plant species in the family Ranunculaceae. It is a native to Caucasus and Russia (Siberia). Growing to 100 cm (39 in) tall by 45 cm (18 in) broad, it is an herbaceous perennial producing clusters of fluffy yellow fragrant flowers in summer.

Thalictrum flavum
Thalictrum flavum0.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Thalictrum
T. flavum
Binomial name
Thalictrum flavum
  • Thalictrum angustatum Weinm. ex Lecoy.
  • Thalictrum anonymum Wallr. ex Lecoy.
  • Thalictrum belgicum Jord.
  • Thalictrum capitatum Jord.[1]


Thalictrum flavum has fibrous roots,[5] and wedge-shaped,[6] dark green leaves, with a paler green underneath; they are divided into multiple sections.[2] It blooms between June and August.[2] The flowers are composed of short sepals and longer, erect stamens.[7][8] The sepals are actually white, but the multiple erect, yellow stamens, give the flower a yellow appearance.[6] Later, three fruits are formed from each flower head.[2]


The plant contains an enzyme called pavine N-methyltransferase, which modifies a variety of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids including the eponymous alkaloid pavine.[9] Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids like pavine often have a variety of pharmacological actions, and as a result some have medical uses such as analgesic or anticancer effects while others have significant toxicity. T. flavum also contains another benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, thalidezine, which is also present in other Thalictrum species.[10]


It was first described and published by Carl Linnaeus, in his book 'Species Plantarum', on page 546 in 1753.[1][11] The specific epithet flavum means "pure yellow".[12]

The subspecies T. flavum subsp. glaucum (from the word glaucous) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13] It serves as an alternate host for the wheat disease Wheat Leaf Rust.[14]

The common name 'meadow rue' is thought to have derived from 'meadow rhubarb'.[2]

It is written as 黄唐松草 in Chinese script and known as huang tang song cao in Pidgin in China.[15]

It was verified by United States Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service on 24 January 1997.[16]

Distribution and habitatEdit

It is very widespread, and is native to temperate regions of Asia, Northern Africa and Europe.[16]


It is found in Northern Africa within Algeria. In Europe, it is found in (Eastern Europe) Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, (Middle Europe), Austria; Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, (northern Europe) Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, (southeastern Europe) Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, (southwestern Europe) France and Spain. In Asia, it is found in the Caucasus, (within Azerbaijan and Georgia) Russian Federation, (within Amur and Primorye), China, (Xinjiang,[15]) Kazakhstan, Siberia and Turkey.[16]

the plant has three web shaped lobed leafletes which are dark green

It has naturalised in the UK, and found in southern and western England, as well as in Scotland and Ireland.[2][6]


It is found generally in grasslands,[17] marshy fields, fens and riverbanks.[5][6]


It is pollinated mainly by flies and bees, with wind dispersal of the seeds.[2] The larva of the Perizoma sagittata (Marsh Carpet moth) are found on the plant, eating the seeds and the flowers.[4]



Thalictrum flavum is cultivated as an ornamental plant. The cultivars Thalictrum 'Tukker Princess'[18] and Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum 'Ruth Lynden-Bell'[19] have received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.


It has been used in folk medicine in the UK, the foliage has been used a purgative.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Thalictrum flavum L. is an accepted name". 23 March 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 383. ISBN 9780276002175.
  3. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ a b Peder Skou The Geometroid Moths of North Europe (Lepidoptera: Drepanidae and Geometridae), p. 136, at Google Books
  5. ^ a b Samuel F. Gray Natural Arrangement of British Plants: According to Their ..., Volume 2 (1821), p. 727, at Google Books
  6. ^ a b c d "Common Meadow-rue". Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  7. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  8. ^ The Wild Flower Key British Isles - N W Europe, by Francis Rose, 1991, ISBN 0 7232 2419 6
  9. ^ Torres, M.A.; Hoffarth, E.; Eugenio, L.; Savtchouk, J.; Chen, X.; Morris, J.S.; Facchini, P.J.; Ng, K.K. (4 November 2016). "Structural and Functional Studies of Pavine N-Methyltransferase from Thalictrum flavum Reveal Novel Insights into Substrate Recognition and Catalytic Mechanism". J Biol Chem. 291 (45): 23403–23415. doi:10.1074/jbc.M116.747261. PMC 5095397. PMID 27573242.
  10. ^ S.W. Pelletier (Editor) Alkaloids: Chemical and Biological Perspectives, Volume 14, p. 48, at Google Books
  11. ^ "Ranunculaceae Thalictrum flavum L." Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  12. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum". Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  14. ^ BOLTON, MELVIN D.; KOLMER, JAMES A.; GARVIN, DAVID F. (2008). "Wheat leaf rust caused by Puccinia triticina". Molecular Plant Pathology. Wiley-Blackwell/British Society for Plant Pathology. 9 (5): 563–575. doi:10.1111/j.1364-3703.2008.00487.x. ISSN 1464-6722. PMC 6640346. PMID 19018988.
  15. ^ a b "FOC Vol. 6 Page 289". (Flora of China). Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  16. ^ a b c "Taxon: Thalictrum flavum L." (Germplasm Resources Information Network). Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  17. ^ John G. Kelcey and Norbert Müller (Editors) Plants and Habitats of European Cities, p. 299, at Google Books
  18. ^ "Thallictrum 'Tukker Princess'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum 'Ruth Lynden-Bell'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.

External linksEdit

Other sourcesEdit

  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman, & M. Hjertson Svensk Kulturväxtdatabas, SKUD (Swedish Cultivated and Utility Plants Database; online resource on 2012 (Kulturvaxtdatabas)
  • Botanical Society of the British Isles BSBI taxon database (on-line resource). (BSBI)
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences Flora reipublicae popularis sinicae. 1959- (F China)
  • Davis, P. H., ed. Flora of Turkey and the east Aegean islands. 1965-1988 (F Turk)
  • Euro+Med Editorial Committee Euro+Med Plantbase: the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity (on-line resource). (EuroMed Plantbase)
  • Greuter, W. et al., eds. Med-Checklist. 1984- (L Medit)
  • Huxley, A., ed. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. 1992 (Dict Gard)
  • Jalas, J. & J. Suominen Atlas florae europaeae. 1972- (Atlas Eur)
  • Komarov, V. L. et al., eds. Flora SSSR. 1934-1964 (F USSR)