Here’s a beautiful, delicate spring ephemeral found in the eastern and central portions of North American woodlands: Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides).
The immature flower has greenish-yellow stamens clustered around the white stigmas as the flower petals open. Surrounding the flower, you can see some of the leaflets of Rue anemone’s compound leaf.
This very close view of the flower’s reproductive parts shows the stamen’s anthers spread out around the central white-tipped pistils. In this case, there are more than a dozen pistils. Some Rue anemone flowers only have three (or sometimes just one) pistil.
As the days go by, the fertilized flower develops seed capsules. Here’s a close-up view of some seed capsules.
Since the center flower was the first to bloom, it is the first of the grouping of three flowers to develop seed capsules. You can see this in the next image.
Within a few weeks after these plants bloom, they develop seeds, their leaves die, and the plants fade away until next spring.
To learn more about Rue anemone throughout its short life cycle — and to see some great images of Rue anemone variations — watch this video: