Content Detail

A delicate woodland native, rue anemone is a spring ephemeral wildflower and garden perennial. Loose clusters of white to pale pink flowers rise above three-lobed green leaves. A great addition to the woodland wildflower or rock garden. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. 

  • Family (English) Buttercup
  • Family (botanic) Ranunculaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early spring, late spring, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Creeping, Mounded
  • Growth rate Slow


A low growing woodland wildflower that reaches 6 to 9 inches high.

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 7. Rue anemone is native in high quality woods from Ontario, Minnesota, Michigan and Maine, south to Florida, Mississippi and Texas.

Attracts birds & pollinators: 

Bees and other spring pollinators are attracted to the flowers.

Leaf description: 

Basal leaves have 3 blunt lobes and form attractive 1 ½ inch mounds. Leaves are light green with a tinge of reddish-purple.

Flower description: 

The flower is a loose umbel of 5-petal-like sepals, white with a greenish tint. They are formed on individual stems rising above the foliage. Blooms in mid to late spring for 3 weeks before going dormant. The plant is wind-pollinated.

Fruit description: 

Flowers give way to 4 to 15 hooked achenes each containing one seed.

Plant care:

Plant in full to part shade in humus-rich, organic soil. Rue anemone will benefit from a layer of leaf mold or thin layer of mulch. A spring ephemeral, this plant goes dormant in summer heat.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

No serious problems.


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