Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: False Rue Anemone

My little pocket wildflower garden is waking up!

It was my first wildflower garden. The False Rue Anemone and Dutchman's Breeches were already growing there and I transplanted Trillium from the way back woodland and Toothwort and Spring Beauties from the now disappeared front lawn. Their dormant roots are sheltered by The Dancing Tree and a large Shag Bark Hickory during the hot summer months, but, they magically reappear each spring.
Eastern False Rue-anemone, False Rue Anemone or Enemion biternatum is a sweet little Spring ephemeral in the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It's native to shady rich or calcereous woods & thickets; floodplain woods and limestone ledges. (slightly alkaline soil) and is native to Middle Tennessee.
it's easily overrun by invasives like garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle and wintercreeper
The delicate looking foliage of False Rue Anemone emerges in late winter and makes a beautiful leafy mat that grows about 6 inches high. The flowers, scattered here and there,  emerge as the days warm and the bloom period is at least a month long. It would make a lovely ground cover, but, like all Spring ephemerals, grows, blooms, gets fertilized, sets seed in a short period of time before it fades and retreats back underground.
False Rue Anemone only produces pollen
False Rue Anemone is pollinated by small bees and flies that visit it for its pollen.
The lovely five 'petaled' (sepals) flowers with the showy yellow center stamens would look wonderful planted with Mertensia virginica, Thalictrum thalictroides, Trillium grandiflorum, Trillium cuneatum, Polemonium reptans, Phloxes, Geranium maculatum,  Euonymus americanus, Philadelphus inodorus and Aesculus pavia.

If you can grow this cutie in your garden do, I promise that you will love it.  It's available from several reputable online nurseries and locally from GroWild Nursery.


The particulars

Plant type Perennial, Deciduous, True ephemeral (summer dormancy)    
Flowering Period: Early Spring, Mid-Spring
Flower Color: White         
Sun/Shade Conditions: Filtered Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Moisture: Average, Moist, can handle some flooding
Soil pH: Adaptable, Alkaline
Soil Type: Loam, Clay, Humus-rich


Welcome to Clay and Limestone's wildflower celebration. Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. What a lovely little flower and beautiful ground cover! Looks like one I need to add to my garden.

  2. It's a beauty, Gail! False Rue Anemone is one of the ephemerals that grow wild in the woods behind my house, along with Trilliums, Bloodroot, Mayapples, and others. One thing I like about it is the appearance of the plant structure. The blooms are nice, but the way the lacy foliage surrounds the stem and the bloom nods at the top is lovely! Thanks for hosting!

  3. your spring ephemerals make me think of our Namaqualand daisies. So spectacular in a good rainy year, and quietly overshadowed by more resilient bulbs in a dry year.

  4. I have never come across this delightful little flower. it is so pretty. I love your idea of the wild flower meme. It is great to learn about wild flowers from other countries and also to go out and study your own wild flowers. Thank you for hosting it. Chloris

  5. Gail I adore this little wildflower and have it planted between a stand of trees...once all this snow melts, I will see it in a few weeks.

  6. I'm so glad I can finally play along, Gail! The False Rue Anemone is just lovely. I haven't see it in our woods, but I'm definitely hoping to learn more about wildflowers in our forest this year!

  7. What a little sweetie! I don't seem to have ephemerals live for any length of time here, but still try. The Virginia bluebells have been coming back for the last 4 or 5 years, though. So far, I'm not seeing them this year.

  8. I think I've tried to grow this wildflower before and it disappeared permanently, but I must try again. It's so lovely!

  9. What a sweet flower! The foliage reminds me of bleeding heart. I love spring ephemerals, but when they die back I'm always faced with what to do with the space they leave. My woodland corner becomes a lot less interesting then.

  10. I'm happy to participate in the monthly Wildflower Wednesday meme with a post about Allium canadense, one of my favorite spring wildflowers. That false rue anemone is a real beauty. It really shouts "Spring is here!"

  11. Pretty flower and foliage, I'd love to find one of those in my area.

  12. Such a great post and that little anemone is just about the cutest flower ever! Thanks for host this tribute to wildflowers and I'm happy to participate.

  13. Love that anenome...don't have it. I just added what's 'sticking up through the dirt' now in my garden...lots of green tips but not much in bud or bloom yet. A long, cold winter!

  14. Reading this makes me want to get out to see if anything is blooming here. Haven't seen anything other than Harbinger of spring here. If it ever warms up we will have all sorts of things blooming no doubt.

  15. Hi Gail, I am very glad to have found your blog and am really looking forward to learning more about the wildflowers you have there.

  16. Such a sweet little bloom. The leaves look so much like columbine and rue anemone, which is a good thing--I wouldn't be so apt to pull them out when weeding:) Like Lisa, I need to get outside and see what's blooming. I've been gone for several days to visit my daughter, and was excited to see the crocuses finally blooming. Wow, it's been a late spring here!


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson