Caltha palustris (Marsh-marigolds)

Marsh-marigolds, also know as kingcup is one of the early perennials that show up in the swampy areas along the Huron River. They can be spotted on the Western pathway from the traffic bridge in Gallup to Fuller Park. They are clearly visible and accessible on the northern side of the path in the large wetlands and on the south side of the path in the Arboretum.

The stunning yellow flowers shine so bright they are hard to photograph without interference of the reflected light. I love the different textures around the plant in the swampy areas as water, decaying leaves and wood contribute to the stark contrasts of the yellow inflorescence and oval. The plant is part of the buttercup family. (Ranunculaceae)

It only blooms in April and May and then the entire plant dies back till next spring.

Copyright 2018, Stewart Nelson ©

Copyright 2018, Stewart Nelson ©

Caltha is Latin adapted from the Greek word for goblet and palustris is Latin for swampy. See — my 4 years of Latin is finally paying off!

Copyright 2018, Stewart Nelson ©

There are many references to boiling the heart shaped, young, tender leaves before they bud, and washing several times and then flavoring and eating. Pickling is recommended for the buds. I would be real careful about eating it however as the plant produces a powerful toxin in the later stages of growth. One source mentioned that the young leaves are very nutritious as they absorb a variety of nutrients from the surrounding water.

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