Two Rue Anemones

My new botany project has me out taking lots of wildflower pictures especially of new ones. Rue Anemones are not new to me but they are too lovely to not take more pictures.

Rue anemones grow all over the hills and in the ravines around me. They are not picky growing in open woods or in the ravines but not in wet areas.

rue anemone plant

Look closely. One flower has five petals. One has six petals. One has seven petals. These are all on the same rue anemone plant.

These wildflowers range from white to deep pink. Usually six petals form the flower but I’ve seen five to eight on a flower.

Each plant has a single stalk with a few leaves at the base and some up near the flower. The leaves have three lobes.

Herein lies the problem.

According to Missouri Wildflowers [Missouri Department of Conservation] there are two rue anemones, one regular one and one false one. They look a lot alike. They grow in many of the same places.

false rue anemone flower

A false rue anemone flower is different. The petals are a different shape. The color is similar to colors I’ve seen in the other flower. The petals lie out flat not angled. There are only five petals on all the flowers.

There are two differences easy for an amateur to spot. Rue anemone can have a variable number of petals. False rue anemone flowers always have five.

Rue anemone leaves do have three lobes but they are mostly split at the end of the leaf making it look like a fat bird track. False rue anemone leaves have deeply cut lobes.

Over the years I have looked to find both. All the flowers I found seemed to be regular rue anemones although I tried to tell myself some weren’t.

This year I am walking along the Meramec River looking for wildflowers. So far I’ve come across harbinger of spring, spring beauties and Virginia bluebells.

false rue anemone leaves

The leaf lobes are much more pronounced and the color is different. Now that I have seen them, the difference is striking.

For my new project I am trying to get pictures of the fruits and seed pods of the various flowers so I keep going back to the same plants. The harbinger of spring was happily making seed pods.

Over a little ways were rue anemones. Except they weren’t. I found myself in a patch of false rue anemone plants just coming into bloom.

The difference is striking. The petals are fatter. The leaves look very different.

I’m not entirely sure how many different wild plants grow in my county but the list takes up 32 pages. I think it’s around 1000. I now have another one marked off.