As a spring ephemeral, rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides, Ranunculaceae) flowers from March to June. This perennial buttercup takes advantage of thin leaf cover in the forest canopy early in the season, completing flowering, pollination, and reproduction before most trees have even leafed out. Although it’s perhaps most common in deciduous woodlands throughout eastern North America, it can also be found in some mixed conifer forests as well.
Rue anemone is poisonous and can cause a variety of adverse reactions. Contact with fresh sap can lead to inflammation and blistering, and significant ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea. As with many things in nature, a beautiful appearance often hides a dangerous side.