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Linnaeus named this genus and species in 1753.  "Thalictrum" is of ancient and unknown Greek origin.

Thalictrum alpinum
Thalictrum alpinum (Alpine Meadowrue)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Wetlands, tundra. Spring, summer.
North of Durango, May 29, 2007.

Thalictrum alpinum is primarily a species of Alaska, northwestern Canada, and the high mountains of the western U.S.  In the Four Corners area it occurs only in a few boggy areas of several counties. It is an uncommon species in the Four Corners area and, as the map below indicates, there are no records of it occurring in any of the counties touching the Four Corners.

Thalictrum alpinum leaves are scalloped, no more than a half inch in diameter and on stems up to several inches long.  Dried flower stems are arched in the foreground of the top two photographs.

Thalictrum alpinum differs from its close cousin, T. fendleri, in three major ways:
1) T. alpinum typically has no stem leaves vs. leafy stems.
2) T. alpinum has a racemose inflorescence vs. a paniculate inflorescence (branched racemose).
3) T. alpinum has bisexual flowers vs. unisexual flowers.

Weber places Thalictrum in Thalictraceae, not Ranunculaceae.

Thalictrum alpinum
Thalictrum alpinum (Alpine Meadowrue)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Wetlands, tundra. Spring, summer.
North of Durango, May 29, 2007.

All three of the photographs on this page were taken near Durango in an area where, as the photograph at left shows, Thalictrum alpinum occurred as a thick ground cover extending over hundreds of square feet.

Thalictrum alpinum
Thalictrum alpinum (Alpine Meadowrue)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Wetlands, tundra. Spring, summer.
North of Durango, May 29, 2007.

Flower stems are up to eight inches long and almost always arched over.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Thalictrum alpinum