Rue anemone is a woodland perennial native to eastern North America. It is a small plant, typically growing four to eight inches tall. A true springtime ephemeral, it blooms mid-April to June, before setting seed and going dormant until the following year. Its blooms can be either white or pink.
All parts of the plant are mildly toxic, and the foliage is largely ignored by native wildlife. Contact with the sap can cause inflammation and blistering of the skin. Ingesting large amounts of the plant can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. However, the toxin is destroyed by heat, which renders the tuberous root edible after cooking.
Interestingly, a tea made from the roots has astringent properties, and has been used in the treatment of diarrhea and vomiting.
Rue anemone can be confused with Anemone quinequefolia (Wood anemone) and Enemion biternatum (false rue anemone), having similar flowers and preferring similar growing conditions. However, the foliage is notably different.
From left to right: False rue anemone, wood anemone, and rue anemone
T. thalictroides was formerly classified as Anemonella thalictroides. Another common name is meadow rue.