Fig buttercup or Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine – Crowding Out Our Spring Wildflowers

During March or April here in Ohio, we have a tiny yellow flower that blooms profusely in a neighboring open woody area and extending into our own backyard. It is a tiny daisy-like flower called Lesser Celandine. It is invasive and spreads in a dense carpet that even continues through the lawn. I consider this a weed since it is a plant growing where I don’t want it to grow.

Called Fig Buttercup or Pilewort , this Ficaria verna is a deceptively pretty sight to see in spring. You may see a carpet of dense green with bright yellow flowers blanketing an area in the woods. It is found usually near a water source or on land that is damp or often flooded. But don’t let its beauty fool you because this plant is one of our Garden Thugs.

Lesser Celandine with yellow flower - Enemy of our Woodland Plants

Some other plants resemble this Fig buttercup and can be easily confused with it.  The Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) looks similar but does not grow in a carpet, but remains growing in a single plant. Marsh marigold doesn’t have tubers or corms either. 

Another easily confused plant is the Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)  and the Celandine Major (Chelidonium majus) . But these plants have 4-5 petals and are both part of the Poppy family of plants, Papaveraceae.

It's Crowding Out Our Spring Wildflowers 😨 Lesser Celandine or Fig Buttercup

These Lesser Celandine plants can invade a lawn or garden bed and really spread quickly. Though the plant dies back to the ground after blooming, the corms or bulblets remain behind and can be distributed through the lawn or garden beds by animals, water flow, or just spading soil through the garden.

Pulling the Fig buttercup will probably leave behind many of the bulblets, so it is best to dig it up with its surrounding soil, sift through and examine all the soil, and then dispose of all the plant and its bulblets. Not into a compost pile!

Lesser celandine or Fig buttercup invading the lawn

Is Lesser Celandine Edible?

I am not a forager and I don’t know much of anything about edible wildflowers and plants, but I understand that this plant is one of the edible ones. But you have to know what it is for sure, as it is toxic in some instances. You would need to look up all the info or consult and expert. Usually young leaves and roots are what is eaten, and I don’t know any more.

I know, one day, after the Zombie Apocalypse, you will be dining on all the forest food and I will be chewing on the bark of a tree. At that time, I will wish I had learned more about the edible forest food. Maybe tomorrow I will start learning.

Fig buttercup in its unopened stage on cloudy days

Each of us look at this type of flower differently and what I see as a weed, you see as an edible herb or something. But I will continue to keep this one out of my garden if I can, along with its large look-alike, Greater Celandine. I see both of them as Weeds.

They can be beautiful and pretty and I can enjoy them for a moment, then Off They Go! Do you recognize this one?  I saw it all the time in the beds and never knew.

Lesser Celandine - In my garden this is a weed

Thanks for reading and watching my video. Just felt a need to write about this even though it is a little off-topic, but I am sure you will understand. Thanks. And please Pin to your weed folder!

One Comment

  1. Vita Lucas says:

    Thanks very much for the information although I hope to never see it.
    I thought the bane of my existance was Creeping Charlie. It is supposed to be edible in salads. I tried it for you. Don’t. Only people that loathe themselves would enjoy this vile tasting weed. Do gooders ask why I dig out such a pretty flower. Although considered an invasive weed here in Ontario ten years ago an otherwise great nursery was actually selling a varigated form of it!
    But no, the bane is now split between two more species of Morning Glory like invasive ground vines that climb every plant and tree they can reach. One has 3/4″ pink flowers, the other 1.1/4″ white flowers. It can kill trees.The only way you can rid your property is to pick it every day, pick it out of everyone else’s yard and have no life whatsoever. Or find a needle in a park and inject it with a banned herbicide. If you apply cleaning vinegar you can kill it but you won’t be able to grow flowers, shrubs or grass there again. Short of torching it with gasoline or pouring asphalt on it you can replace your soil. But you have to go down 11′. Not joking. That’s what ‘they’ say. But don’t spend the money doing something that drastic. Better to move to Alaska. But burn all of you shoes first.

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