Thalictrum anemonoides. Rue Anemone.

Botanical name: 

Plate 3. Thalictrum anemonoides. Related entry: Thalictrum dioicum

PARTS USED.—The tuberous roots and flowering herb of Thalictrum anemonoides Michx.

Natural Order Ranunculaceae, Tribe Anemoneae.

BOTANICAL ANALYSIS.—Roots consisting of a cluster of oblong tubers. Leaves radical, petiolate, tri-ternate; leaflets petiolulate, round, smooth, triple-veined, three to five obtusely lobed, cordate at the base. Stems erect, two or three from the same root-cluster; naked below, bearing a whorl of three to six floral leaves and a terminal cluster of flowers at the base. Floral leaves similar in shape and size to the leaflets of the radical leaves. Flowers perfect, peduncled. Sepals, five to twelve, generally about seven, white, petaloid, spreading, about a half an inch long. Petals, none. Stamens numerous, with slender filaments. Pistils, several in a head. Fruit, a head of sessile, round, acute, smooth, ribbed achenes.

COMMON NAMES.—The name, Rue Anemone, was given to this plant to indicate the relationship which it bears to both the Anemone family and the Meadow Rue. To conform to its now accepted botanical position, it should properly be called Anemone Rue.

Figure 4. Tuberous roots of Thalictrum anemonoides... Figure 5. Fruit-head of Thalictrum anemonoides. BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—This is a little herb from four to six inches high, very common in most sections of our country. The stem bears a cluster of fleshy, tuberous roots, and at its summit a whorl of floral leaves and an umbellate cluster of from three to six flowers, the central and first expanding one larger than the others. The flowers are white or pinkish, and appear in the first warm days of early spring. The leaves are all radical. The fruit is a head of a few dry achenes, which mature in a few weeks after flowering. The plant then dies to the roots, and in summer no trace of it can be seen.

BOTANICAL HISTORY.—This plant is a connecting link between the genera Anemone and Thalictrum, and has been ascribed to each by various botanists.

With the habit, involucre, and the flowers of an Anemone, it has the fruit and leaflets of a Thalictrum.

It was carried to England early in the last century, and grown in several botanic gardens, and was figured in the Botanical Magazine in 1805.

Linnaeus (1753) named it Anemone thalictroides, which name was followed by the earlier botanists. Michaux (1803) transferred it to the genus Thalictrum, calling it Thalictrum anemonoides; and the name was adopted by De Candolle and most subsequent botanists. In 1832, Hoffmansegg proposed to establish a new genus to include this plant and the Thalictrum tuberosum Linn., of Europe, calling it Syndesmon, and naming our species Syndesmon thalictroides. This change was also advocated by Spach (1839), who called it, however, Anemonella thalictroides; but neither name was ever adopted by other botanists.

MEDICAL HISTORY AND PROPERTIES.—Thalictrum anemonoides has never been recognized by any pharmacopoeia. There is no record of its having been used by the aborigines. The standard early authorities do not mention it. It is omitted from Clapp's Catalogue of the Medicinal Plants of the United States, Porcher's Catalogue of the Medicinal Plants of South Carolina, Griffith's Medical Botany, Stearns' Catalogue of the Medicinal Plants of Michigan, etc. Dunglison mentions it in his Medical Dictionary, without, however, ascribing to it any medicinal properties. It was not recognized by any dispensatory, until the Supplement to the American Dispensatory appeared. In this work, Prof. John King writes: "Dr. S. E. Barber, of Consville, Mo., informs us that he has found it a valuable remedy in external and internal hemorrhoides, not accompanied with hemorrhage. The method of using it, is to simply eat three or four of the small root tubers three times a day. We have used some of the tubers which he sent to us, in two cases of blind piles, and with apparent success."

PHARMACEUTICAL PREPARATIONS.—A tincture of recent tubers maybe made, according to our process for making tincture of Clematis.

Medical References.

1814.—Green's Catalogue of New York Plants, p. 97-132.
1852.—Dunglison's Med. Dict. (and other editions), p. 851.
1880.—Supplement to American Dispensatory, p. 149.

References to Illustrations of Thalictrum anemonoides.

Gray's Genera, Plants of the United States, Vol. I., plate 6 (good).
Botanical Magazine, Vol. XXII., plate 866 (good, colored).
Meehans Wayside Flora, Vol. II., plate 30.
Barton's Flora of North America, Vol. II., plate 44 (good, colored).
Sweet British Flower Garden (second series), Vol. II., plate 150 (good, colored).
Lemaire, L'illustration Horticole (Ghent), Vol. VI., plate 211.
Willdenow's Enumeratio Plantarum Horti Beroliensis, plate 44 (colored rather stiff).
Jussieu Annales du Musée, Vol. III., plate 21.
Loddiges' Botanical Cabinet, Vol. VIII., No. 770 (flowers double); also Vol. X., plate 964.
Hill's Vegetable System, Vol. XXV., plate 46, Fig. 5.
Plukenet's Almagestum Botanicum, plate 106, Fig. 4.

Acknowledgment of Plates and Cuts.

Plate III.—Barton's Flora of North America, (corrected).
Fig. 4.—Gray's Genera, Plants of the United States.
Fig. 5.—Gray's Genera, Plants of the United States.

Drugs and Medicines of North America, 1884-1887, was written by John Uri Lloyd and Curtis G. Lloyd.