Lesser Celandine in March

By Faye Mahaffey – 

I love taking a walk down to our cabin this time of the year. The daffodils are blooming and joining in is a low-growing herbaceous perennial dreaded by some and adored by others – “fig buttercup” or Lesser celandine. We have a friend in the lawn care business that always informs us that he can take care of that invasive weed for us, but we have never made that call.
The plants consist of a basal rosette of tender, succulent, dark green, shiny, stalked kidney-to heart-shaped leaves. Flowers are symmetrical, bright buttery yellow with a slightly darker center, have 8 (typical) to 12 petals, and are borne singly on delicate stalks that rise above the leaves. When in bloom, large infestations of lesser celandine appear as a green carpet with yellow dots, spread across the forest floor. This highly invasive plant is native to Eurasia and it was originally sold in the United States as an ornamental. It prefers moist, forested floodplains; however, in recent years lesser celandine has escaped cultivation and is becoming widespread in parks, yards, and forests growing under a range of environmental conditions including drier upland areas.