Delaware Wildflowers • Common names

Lesser Celandine
Ficaria verna
Ranunculaceae — Buttercup family
Invasive non-native
Lesser Celandine
When I first saw this plant, in 1998, it was relatively uncommon. I had trouble finding a name for it; it wasn't listed in my field guides.
Prices Corner
April 2001
Lesser Celandine
Now it is among the worst of the invasive plants in Delaware.
White Clay Creek State Park -- Pump House Road
April 2012
Lesser Celandine
This plant covers acres along streams in Delaware, including the Brandywine Creek floodplain. Note the Virginia bluebells in the foreground. It's ideal habitat for both plants, but the bluebells can't compete.
Brandywine Creek State Park
April 2004
Lesser Celandine
The leaves emerge in late winter and form a dense mat.

Lesser Celandine
The plant resembles the rare native marsh marigold, but three sepals confirm that it's celandine.

Lesser Celandine
A single plant.

Lesser Celandine
The plant spreads by growing new plants from tubers...
Middle Run Valley Natural Area
March 2016
Lesser Celandine
...and from bulblets that grow in the leaf axils.

Lesser Celandine
The leaves die in late spring, leaving the bulblets free to be washed downstream or spread in mud on shoes and bike tires.
White Clay Creek State Park -- Creek Road
May 2016

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Photos copyright David G. Smith

Information from the Delaware Flora Checklist used with author's permission.

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