This morning, while botanizing with friends in the central Montgomery County serpentine barrens, I tripped across this. It’s another example of Thalictrum coriaceum (maid of the mist). Note how much more brilliantly colored the flowers are. I believe that’s in part because I caught them newly opened, as opposed to senescing.
These plants were also much smaller than the others: about twelve inches rather than thirty six. Why the difference? I’m going to take an educated guess and say habitat. The plants pictured in my last post were found close to the Potomac River, in a woodland that provided dappled sunlight. To judge by the variety and species of other vegetation nearby, I’d guess the soil was mesic (moderately moist) and nutrient-rich. The plants I found today were growing in a clear-cut field, in full sun, on a dry-ish slope on serpentine soil, which is nutrient-poor. (See this post from last September).
I also found this, which I believe to be a stunted specimen of Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadow rue). It, too, was only about twelve inches tall, but otherwise showed the characteristics of that species.
I want to stress again that I’m a perpetual student, not an expert. Anyone who disagrees with my assessments, please leave a comment!