Native Plant of the Week: Marsh Marigold ~ Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold ~ Caltha palustris

The bright yellow flowers of Marsh Marigold light up the roadside ditches and wetland edges in early spring. This common wetland marginal perennial native is a welcoming sight after a long winter.

The low mounding habit makes this native a good candidate for the home landscape - if you have a seasonally (spring) wet area in your yard in part to full sun and rich soils. It's also a highly recommended plant for use in raingardens.

Marsh Marigold leaves are heart-shaped, glossy and basal. They set off the long stalked flowers nicely. 

Flowers are 5-9 parted with thick sepals and are very showy 1 - 1.5" wide. Blooming starts anywhere from early April through May in Minnesota.

Seeds form near the end of May into June and are uniquely attractive. The star-like cluster of carpels mature and open along the upper edge to release the seed.

"The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract flies and bees primarily. This includes Bombylius major (Giant Bee Fly), Syrphid flies, Halictid bees, honey bees, and others."(Illinois Wildflowers)

Marsh Marigold is primarily native to northeastern North America. See map below for range.
Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.