False Rue Anemone

Isopyrum biternatum
Family: 
Ranunculaceae (crowfoots, buttercups)
Description: 

Herbaceous spring wildflowers, often in large colonies. Flowers arising singly on long stems from leaf axils; sepals 5, white. Blooms March–May. Leaves present at base of plant but also on the stems with flowers. Leaves compound with 2 or 3 sections, these with rounded lobes.

Similar species: This flower is often confused with (true) rue anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides. That species, however, has only bracts on the flowering stems (not complete leaves); often has more than 5 sepals, which are sometimes pinkish; is usually only found singly; and prefers wooded slopes to moist bottomlands.

Size: 
Height: 5–8 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs mainly at bases of wooded slopes or in wooded bottomlands, sometimes in sunny situations. Often found in large colonies.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide, except for the southeast lowlands.
Status: 
Some botanists consider this North American plant and its relatives as less related to the Eurasian genus Isopyrum, so some references call this plant Enemion biternatum.
Human connections: 
False rue anemone and "true" rue anemone present a bit of difficulty for the budding naturalist, but meeting the challenge of learning how to identify the two similar plants helps us understand botany, and our world, better.
Ecosystem connections: 
Many animals nibble tender green plants in springtime. This and other woodland flowers require a forest habitat to survive, so they depend on the oaks, hickories, maples, and other trees that surround them.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/17226