Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Caltha palustris L.
Yellow marsh marigold, Yellow marsh-marigold, Cowslip
USDA Symbol: capa5
A succulent plant with glossy, heart- or kidney-shaped leaves and a thick, hollow, branching stem with bright, shiny yellow flowers. Yellow marsh-marigold is a mounded perennial, 1-2 ft. tall, with thick stems; broadly heart-shaped leaves; and clusters of large, showy, buttercup-like, yellow flowers.
The flowers of this showy spring plant resemble large buttercups rather than the marigolds. The leaves are sometimes used as potherbs but require several short boilings with changes of water between. They should not be eaten raw. A smaller species, Floating Marsh Marigold (C. natans), found from Alaska southeastward to northern Minnesota, has small white or pinkish flowers, kidney-shaped leaves, and stems that often float.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, WV Canada: BC
, QC Native Distribution:
Transcontinental Canada, s. to NC, TN
& IA Native Habitat:
Wet woods, marshy hollows, stream edges
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Muddy, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Marsh marigold requires little care other than protection from drying, winter and early spring winds.
BenefitUse Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Cooked, early spring greens are edible. Cover the young leaves with 2-3 changes of boiling water until barely tender; cut into bite-sized pieces, salt lightly, and cover with butter and some vinegar. Tightly closed buds can be pickled after covering with boiling water as described for leaves. Do not boil. The leaves are sometimes used as potherbs but require several short boilings with changes of water between. (Niering)
Warning: Plant juices can cause blistering or inflammation on skin or mucous membranes on contact, and gastric illness if ingested. POISONOUS PARTS: Leaves. Toxic only in large quantities. Symptoms include burning of the throat, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, and convulsions. Toxic Principle: Protoanemonin. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Seeds should be sown immediately upon ripening and should not be allowed to dry out before sowing. Seedlings do not flower
until the third year following germination. Also reproduces rapidly by division. Seed Collection:
Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: early to mid Jun. Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff