Delaware Wildflowers • Families • Ranunculaceae

Ficaria verna Hudson
(Ranunculus ficaria)
Lesser Celandine
Ranunculaceae — Buttercup family
Invasive non-native
Ficaria verna
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
Ficaria verna
Now it is among the worst of the invasive plants in Delaware.
White Clay Creek State Park -- Pump House Road
April 2012
Ficaria verna
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
Ficaria verna
The leaves emerge in late winter and form a dense mat.

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

Ficaria verna
A single plant.

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

Ficaria verna
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

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