Eastern False Rue-anemone
Scientific name: Enemion biternatum
Cover photo credit: Michael Oldham
Threatened means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it.
Date added to the Species at Risk in Ontario list
June 30, 2008
On January 26, 2022, the common name of this species was updated on the Species at Risk in Ontario list from False Rue-anemone to Eastern False Rue-anemone to be consistent with recent nomenclatural changes. This name change does not change the protections afforded to the species under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 or the applicability of any policies, permits and agreements, guidance documents – including recovery guidance – or best management practices that have been published or issued by the Government of Ontario in respect of the species.
What it looks like
Eastern False Rue-anemone is a member of the buttercup family. It grows to a height of 10 to 40 centimetres. Most leaves are divided into three groups of three leaflets, each leaflet being irregularly two to three lobed. The flowers, which bloom in early spring, occur singly or in groups of two to four
They are small and delicate with five showy white petal-like sepals (modified leaves or bracts that look like petals). The fruit is produced in early June and contains many smooth seeds.
Where it lives
Eastern False Rue-anemone grows in deciduous forests and thickets with rich, moist soil, often in valleys, floodplains and ravine bottoms.
This species is frequently found close to watercourses within mature forests with lots of maple and beech trees.
It prefers partial sun or somewhat shady conditions.
Where it’s been found in Ontario
In Canada, based on information available in 2003, Eastern False Rue-anemone is believed to occupy only six places in southwestern Ontario, all in the Carolinian region. Some sites support tens of thousands of plants but they are often densely clustered into a small area.
View a larger version of this map (PDF)
What threatens it
The main threat to Eastern False Rue-anemone is habitat destruction due to recreational activities such as cycling, ATV-use and hiking, that can result in inadvertent trampling of this plant.
Forest clearing, soil erosion, and agricultural run-off are also concerns. Road salt is known to have harmed at least one population in Ontario.
Invasive plants that compete with Eastern False Rue-anemone for water, light, and space, such as Goutweed and Garlic Mustard, also threaten this species.
Action we are taking
Threatened Species and their general habitat are automatically protected
A recovery strategy advises the ministry on ways to ensure healthy numbers of the species return to Ontario.
Read the executive summary and the full document (December 7, 2018).
Government response statement
A government response statement outlines the actions the government intends to take or support to help recover the species.
Read the government response statement (September 5, 2019).
General Habitat Protection - June 30, 2013
What you can do
Report a sighting
- Report a sighting of an endangered animal or plant to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.
- Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
Be a good steward
- Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Eastern False Rue-anemone on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
- Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit:
- The Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program is available to farmers registered under the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan to encourage greater protection and conservation of habitat for species at risk.
Report illegal activity
- Report any illegal activity related to species at risk to
- The scientific name for Eastern False Rue-anemone, Enemion biternatum, is thought to refer to the Greek word
windand the Latin word
twice in sets of three(referring to the leaves and their division into leaflets).
- Unlike other flowering plants, Eastern False Rue-anemone does not produce nectar to attract insects to pollinate its flowers. However, because it is one of the first plants to produce flowers in the spring, it is able to attract insects that don’t yet have tastier options.