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Chinese meadow rue is a tall, attractive perennial, often grown in herbaceous borders, that grows best in cooler climates. Thalictrum delavayi has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar T. delavayi 'Hewitt's Double' has pompom-like flowers, resulting from the stamens being replaced by small petals. Some of the earliest herbarium specimens of T. delavayi are those collected by the French botanist and missionary Pierre Jean Marie Delavay in Yunnan in 1887-1888, some of which are held in Kew's Herbarium.

Thalictrum delavayi (Chinese meadow rue)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Chinese meadow rue is a tall perennial with highly divided leaves and numerous, small, pinkish-purple flowers.

Chinese meadow rue is a tall, attractive perennial, often grown in herbaceous borders, that grows best in cooler climates. Thalictrum delavayi has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar T. delavayi 'Hewitt's Double' has pompom-like flowers, resulting from the stamens being replaced by small petals. Some of the earliest herbarium specimens of T. delavayi are those collected by the French botanist and missionary Pierre Jean Marie Delavay in Yunnan in 1887-1888, some of which are held in Kew's Herbarium.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to western China, where it occurs from Yunnan to Xizang, Sichuan and western Guizhou Provinces.

Description

Overview: A tufted perennial with flowering stems up to 2 m tall.

Leaves: The leaves are hairless and much divided. The leaflets are obovate or elliptic, lobed and toothed, and 1-3 cm long. 

Flowers: The flowering stems are many branched at the apex. The flowers are pale lilac or pinkish-purple, with four ovate or acuminate sepals, 6-14 mm long. The flowers have numerous, prominent, cream stamens and 15-22 carpels.

Uses

Chinese meadow rue is cultivated as an ornamental.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in Kew's seed bank vault at Wakehurst.

Description of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 1.38 g Collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: One Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox Germination testing: 95% germination was achieved on a 1% agar medium, on a cycle of 8 hours daylight (at 25°C)/16 hours darkness (at 10°C)

This species at Kew

Chinese meadow rue can be seen growing in the Duke's Garden, the Plant Family Beds and the Rock Garden at Kew, where it flowers from July to September.

Pressed and dried specimens of Thalictrum delavayi are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers, by appointment. The details, including images, of some of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

Distribution
China
Ecology
Rocky mountainsides, in grassy places and scrub, by streams and on cliffs.
Conservation
Not known to be threatened.
Hazards

Contact with the foliage may cause skin irritation. Related species are known to be poisonous if eaten.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

China South-Central, Myanmar, Tibet

English
Chinese meadow rue

Thalictrum delavayi Franch. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Delavay, M. l'Abbé [s.n.], Yunnan K000694049

First published in Bull. Soc. Bot. France 33: 367 (1886)

Accepted by

  • Kress, W.J., DeFilipps, R.A., Farr, E. & Kyi, D.Y.Y. (2003). A Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Climbers of Myanmar Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 45: 1-590. Smithsonian Institution.
  • Wang, W.T. (2018). Thalictrum (Ranunculaceae) in China: 1-376. Peking University Press, Beijing.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2001). Flora of China 6: 1-511. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Franchet, A. (1884). Plantae Delavayanae. Paris.
  • Fu, D.Z. & Zhu, G.H. (2001). Thalictrum L. In: Flora of China, Volume 6, ed. Z.Y. Wu & P.H. Raven, Science Press, Beijing.
  • Hooker, J.D. (1890). Thalictrum delavayi. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 112: tab. 7152.
  • The Plant List (2010). Thalictrum delavayi. 

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Kress, W.J., DeFilipps, R.A., Farr, E. & Kyi, D.Y.Y. (2003). A Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Climbers of Myanmar Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 45: 1-590. Smithsonian Institution.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2001). Flora of China 6: 1-511. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0