Caltha palustris L.

marsh-marigold

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Marsh-marigold is found in open or partly-shaded wet sites such as marshes, ditches, wet woods and swamps. The showy flowers resemble a large buttercup. The leaves can be eaten, but only after boiling in several changes of water. The roots have medical uses among Native Americans.

Habitat

Floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests, shores of rivers or lakes, swamps, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
NA
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
  • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13 or more
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
8–15 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1–1.6 mm
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    NA
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    NA
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower diameter
    10–45 mm
    Flower number
    1–7
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Fringed petal edges
    NA
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence length
    Up to 220 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of flower stalk
    At least 15 mm
    Marks on petals
    • NA
    • there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    5–10
    Number of pistils
    • 5
    • 6 or more
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal and sepal colors
    • orange
    • yellow
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal base
    NA
    Petal folds or pleats
    • NA
    • the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal glandular dots or scales
    NA
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    NA
    Petal length
    0 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    NA
    Petal nectaries
    NA
    Petal number
    0
    Petal shape
    NA
    Petal tip shape
    NA
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    0 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    NA
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal color
    • orange
    • yellow
    Sepal length
    6–25 mm
    Sepal number
    5–12
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    • the sepal outline is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the sepal outline is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    • the sepal outline is roughly circular, as wide as long
    Sepal uniformity
    all the sepals are about the same size
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen length
    4.5–9 mm
    Stamen number
    • 10
    • 11
    • 12
    • 13 or more
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Style length
    0.5–2 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    • NA
    • the fruit is an achene (dry, indehiscent, and usually one-seeded)
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0.2–2 mm
    Fruit cross-section
    • the fruit is at least somewhat flattened
    • the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    8–15 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    NA
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is ellipsoid (widest in the middle and tapering to each end)
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a follicle (has one ovary that splits along one side to release the seeds)
    Fruit width
    3–4.5 mm
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Placenta arrangement
    • marginal
    • the plant has basal placentation, where one or a few ovules develop at the base of a simple or compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed length
    1.5–2.5 mm
    Seed relative length
    the seed is longer than it is wide
    Seed surface
    the seed has a surface characteristic other than those listed
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant has stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bracteole edges
    NA
    Bracteole length
    0 mm
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    NA
    Bracteoles
    there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bract texture
    the floral bracts are green, with a leaf-like texture
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has no stalk
    • the leaf has no stalk and at the base it goes all the way around the stem, so that it appears that the stem pierces the leaf
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    5–130 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the major veins radiate out from one point at the base
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins form a net-like pattern due to splitting and rejoining
    Leaf blade width
    10–190 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    NA
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    40–240 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    • the leaf blade margin has outward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf blade margin has rounded teeth
    Leaf tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    There is a gradual change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with leaves progressively changing as one moves higher on the stem (often becoming shorter, or less toothed/lobed, and/or with shorter petioles).
    Leaf variation
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • swamps
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    NA
    Flowering stem width
    1.5–12 mm
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Length of hairs between stem nodes
    0 mm
    Plant height
    15–60 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    NA
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. palustris

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Ficaria verna:
flowers with 3 sepals and 7-11 petals, and fruit an achene (vs. C. palustris, with flowers with 5 petaloid sepals, and fruit a follicle).

Synonyms

  • Caltha asarifolia DC.
  • Caltha palustris ssp. asarifolia (DC.) Hultén
  • Caltha palustris var. asarifolia (DC.) Rothrock
  • Caltha palustris var. flabellifolia (Pursh) Torr. & Gray

Family

Ranunculaceae

Genus

Caltha

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Caltha palustris L. N

marsh-marigold. Caltha asarifolia DC.; C. palustris L. ssp. asarifolia (DC.) Hultén; C. palustris
L. var. asarifolia (DC.) Rothrock; C. palustris L. var. flabellifolia (Pursh) Torr. & Gray • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Swamps, stream margins, low riparian forests.