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Caltha leptosepala DC.
White Marsh-marigold, Elks-lip
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
USDA Symbol: CALE4
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)
The glossy, basal leaves of this marsh-marigold are distinctly longer than broad with wavy edges. Showy flowers, occuring on a few-leaved stem, are purplish outside and white within. There are several leaves at the base of each erect, leafless flowering stem, with usually only 1 white, bowl-shaped flower at tip. Masses of yellow stamens add to the flowers’ showiness. Usually only one flower is borne from each stem, but there can be two or three.
Marsh Marigolds bloom very close to receding snowbanks. The name Elks-lip refers to the shape of the long leaf of this species. Twin-flowered Marsh Marigold (C. biflora), from Alaska to California, east to Colorado, is very similar but has leaves about as wide as long and nearly always 2 flowers on each stem.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: AK, s. in mts. to NM, AZ & e. OR
Native Habitat: Wet alpine & subalpine meadows; stream edges; bogs
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist to wet soils.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or division of roots.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.4 - Spring Climbs Rockies Slowly, Colorado Cooler, Conference of Wildflower and Nati...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Caltha leptosepala in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Caltha leptosepala in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Caltha leptosepala
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-01-27
Research By: TWC Staff