Plants and Animals

Thalictrum pubescens Tall meadowrue

Key Characteristics

Perennial forb of wetlands; male and female flowers on separate plants (i.e., dioecious); leaves sessile; leaflets mostly 3-lobed, hairy underneath, without glands; inflorescence a panicle; anthers less than 1.5 mm long and stigmas less than 2.1 mm long unlike the similar purple meadowrue (T. dasycarpum) that has longer anthers and stigmas.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alpena 1 1955
Kalkaska 1 1957
Keweenaw 1 1988
Muskegon 1 2007
Ontonagon 1 1988
Otsego 1 1984
Presque Isle 1 1955
Wayne 1 1931

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Found in moist to wet meadows, wet thickets, openings in mesic forests and forested swamps, shorelines, stream banks, and edges of bogs. Can be found in full sun and deep shade.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata), thicket creeper (Parthenocissus inserta), native reed (Phragmites australis subsp. americanus), and meadowrue (Thalictrum sp.). Known associates from New York occurrences include white lady-slipper (Cypripedium candidum), shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa), spotted Joe-Pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum), starry false Solomon-seal (Maianthemum stellatum), golden ragwort (Packera aurea), swamp goldenrod (Solidago patula), rough-leaved goldenrod (S. rugosa), and marsh fern (Thelypteris palustris).

Management Recommendations

This species requires conservation of habitat and regional and local protection of the hydrology. Where this species occurs is wetland habitat, protect the hydrology by avoiding surface water inputs, drainage ditches, road construction, agricultural development, and logging in adjacent uplands. Where in forests, maintain healthy intact, mature forests, and minimize fragmentation. Remove invasive species from occupied sites and adjacent areas.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From third week of June to second week of August


Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Park, M.M, and D. Festerling, Jr. Thalictrum. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 19+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 3, pp. 258. Available at:
  • Shidisky, J.G. 1997. Diversity among plant species in an emergent wetland: An initial survey of the Landingville Marsh. Thesis. Kutztown University. 81 pp.
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.