Caltha palustris, The Marsh Marigold

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)Also known a Kingcup.

Marsh Marigolds are one of our most ancient flowers, believed to have been growing here since before the last Ice age and to have survived that ice age and flourished in the melting waters. The last Ice age ran from about 110,000 years ago until 12,000 years ago, it was a long winter and this is an old flower.

It is found all over the UK and is native to much of the Northern Hemisphere including North America and Canada. It does well in cold climates.

In the UK it flowers in February and can last until April.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)It is a waterside plant, growing in or on the edge of running water, it also grows in the ponds here on the farm and in wet woodland.

This next picture shows the typical habitat, showing young plants growing alongside and through a woodland stream. This picture was taken on the 27th of February 2014.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)These flowers were photographed on the same day and in the same location as the previous picture.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)Marsh Marigold is a member of the Buttercup family and I have heard it said that it is easily confused with other buttercups and even Lesser Celandine. They are all related and yellow but the Marsh Marigold flower is twice the size of any of the others, about two inches across it has quite dense and luxuriant foliage and it grows in water. There is really nothing that you can confuse it with.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)This primitive flower doesn’t have petals, it has bright yellow sepals.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)At the bud stage the outside of these sepals can be quite green.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)Five sepals is the norm but they can have as many as nine, this next flower has six.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)Inside the sepals are multiple stamens and styles.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)The leaves are very variable, round to heart shaped, they can be six inches across and the leaf edge varies from smooth to sharply toothed. Generally the foliage is luxuriant.

Marsh Marigold leaves (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold leaves (Caltha palustris)Note the small sharply toothed leaves in this next photograph.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)The stem is hollow.

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris) Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)   Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)   Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris) Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Ranunculales

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Caltha

Species: Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold flowers (Caltha palustris)Back to Yellow Wildflowers

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