Caltha palustris L. - Marsh Marigold


|  back  | forward |

Caltha palustris - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Ranunculaceae


Calcareous fens, marshes and moist woods.


Often found growing with skunk cabbage.


Circumboreal; in North America south to VA, WV, IN, IL, and IA, and in mountain to NC and TN.


Low perennial with hollow, branching stems to 60 cm. Basal leaves on long petioles, the blade cordate-rotund and usually with a deep and narrow sinus; cauline leaves on progressively shorter petioles and with a wider basal sinus; Flowers bright yellow, to 4 cm wide; sepals 5-9, petaloid; petals absent; stamens 50-120; anthers linear-oblong or lance-oblong, 2 mm; pistils 4-15; follicles 4-15, to 15 mm long.


Flowers early March to early June

Wetland indicator: Obligate

Also called cowslip, this is one of the first wetland plants to bloom in spring. Often dies back in the summer. Listed as endangered in TN.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA




Michael Hough 2004