Although it’s not looking at its exquisite best at this time of year, Thalictrum delavayi is a special plant. Collecting seed from it a couple of days ago, I was reminded of just what a special plant it is and that we must try to grow much more of it. It’s easy from seed although, if you collect your own, the best idea is to separate the seed from its surrounding husk with your nails. Being a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, it’s best to sow seed fresh as it doesn’t store well.
Presently, the plants are still attractive. Their dainty, maidenhair, fern-like foliage is transformed to gold with the tall flower stems towering above, now adorned with pretty seed cases. It forms a basal clump of fine maidenhair foliage from which the flower stalks almost magically emerge. Eventually, after it has formed a graceful framework, the buds emerge at the tips of each stem. At first they’re green and in clusters, but soon they separate, each flower suspended from its own slender, wiry stem and changing to lilac. The buds are slender too, and each one unfolds into a perfect parasol and the creamy-white anthers, which dangle from the pendulous stamens, complete the quivering charm.
Thalictrum takes on autumnal hues