Also known as: fig buttercup, pilewort, bulbous buttercup, figwort, small crowfoot, figroot buttercup
Every spring we welcome the return of beautiful wildflowers as a sign of the end of winter’s long, dark months. Unfortunately, not all of these delightful plants are beneficial to our watershed. One such pest is lesser celandine.
Lesser celandine emerges before most other early bloomers which gives it a competitive advantage. It is difficult to control and can quickly spread throughout a landscape.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||About 1 foot tall (5 centimeters)|
|Leaf Description:||Grows as a rosette, meaning the leaves originate from a point on the stem close to the ground. |
Leaves are dark green and can be heart or kidney-shaped. Leaves begin to emerge in January to February.
|Fruit & Flower Description:||Bright, buttercup-like flowers appear before most native plants. Flowers are symmetrical and typically have 8 petals. |
When in bloom, large infestations appear as a green carpet with yellow dots, spreading across the forest floor.
|Bloom Time:||March to May|
- Lesser celandine is commonly found in disturbed urban areas, forest understories, riparian areasAreas that are directly adjacent to flowing streams, creeks, or rivers. , wetlands, and roadsides.
- It grows in full-sun to full-shade but prefers moist to wet soils and can thrive in many soil types.
- Dense colonies of lesser celandine displace many native plant species, especially those with the similar early spring-flowering cycles.
- The loss of early spring wildflowers leads to the loss of early pollinator food sources.
- It is also toxic once mature and can cause skin irritation when touched.
What you can do about it:
- Treating lesser celandine can be difficult because it can spread rapidly.
- Manual removal is only recommended for small patches. When removing, make sure to remove all fragments of its roots and tuberous roots to prevent further infestation. As much as possible, keep soil disturbance to a minimum.
- All plant parts and nearby soil should be placed in a bag and thrown away in the trash— not your yard waste bin or home compost.
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), a native wetland plant, resembles lesser celandine. Marsh marigold grows taller and does not have tuberous roots like lesser celandine. It also prefers wetter, marshier habitats.
Noxious Weed Listing:
Download the Lesser Celandine Best Management Practices Factsheet
- Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook: Lesser celedine