Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Thalictrum Delavayi ‘Splendide’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Thalictrum delavayi 'Splendide' (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late summer to early autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Ranunculaceae

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ is a clump forming, upright deciduous herbaceous perennial. Its mid green leaves are compound, odd or even pinnate, with each leaflet having three lobes and are up to 40cm long. Its leaflets are ovate with entire margins, up to 3cm long and 2.5mm broad. Its pale pink/ lilac flowers are up to 25mm across and appear in large, open panicles.

Thalictrum delavayi 'Splendide' Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Thalictrum delavayi, commonly known as the Chinese Meadow Rue or Yunnan Meadow Rue, is native to south China. In its native habitat it grows on open hillsides and scrubby woodland edges.

The etymological root of the binomial name Thalictrum is derived from the Greek thaliktron, a name used by Dioscorides for another pant. Delavayi is named after Abbe Jean Marie Delavay (1834 – 1895), a French missionary and botanist.

The landscape architect may find Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ useful as an upright herbaceous perennial suitable for planting as part of mixed herbaceous planting scheme. It is also useful for planting in the dappled shade of trees.

Ecologically, Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the species Thalictrum delavayi their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Thalictrum delavayi 'Splendide' Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Thalictrum delavayi ‘Splendide’ requires little maintenance. To keep a tidy appearance stems may be cut after flowering. Large clumps may be divided in spring as new growth begins. To look good this perennial may need staking.

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