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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday March 2013 -- Marsh Marigold

My Marsh Marigold has started blooming profusely. Not long ago I posted a picture of it with one lone flower open. Now it is looking really quite gorgeous.

Caltha palustris, which is the Latin name for Marsh Marigold, was the first plant that I took a chance on planting directly in my stream. I just popped it out of its pot, clay-ey soil and all, and plunked it down in the water, at the edge, after clearing a spot in the rocks that line the stream. I then piled small rocks all around it to hold it in place. It's the only plant in the stream that the raccoons, which routinely play in the stream at night, have not ripped out, chewed on and tossed around, roots and all. Occasionally they sample it, but it bounces back quickly from any damage. Its leaves are toxic, so they soon learn their lesson. It's one of those plants like pokeweed, whose leaves are edible only after being boiled. And boiled again in a change of water. And then boiled again in new water for good measure. And maybe even one more time. A vegetable after my Scottish mother's heart, who believed in boiling every vegetable into mush.

I have since planted a few other kinds of plants in the stream, using cloth bags, which hold a lot of soil and a mix of plants and thus prevent the raccoons from pulling them up. I wasn't sure at first whether they would thrive in the rushing water, having read that most marginal or aquatic plants prefer still water. But they have thrived.

Marsh Marigold in front, with golden sweet flag, golden creeping jenny and Canna lilies behind in a cloth bag

Sometimes the raccoons knock over the rusty metal duck, and I have to reach in and right him. Maybe they would prefer a yellow rubber one.

You can see the distribution map for Marsh Marigold here in this link to the USDA Plants Database. It's native to North America, specifically the cooler regions of the U.S. and all of Canada. Are you familiar with the USDA website? It's a great resource for finding out whether a plant is native, introduced, endangered or invasive, or when trying to identify a wildflower that the birds have conveniently planted for you. I also often use it to find out whether a plant is native to the western U.S., which is important to know, since Washington, Oregon and California have such a different climate compared to the East.

Other websites with excellent information about native plants are the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which also contains links to the Native Seed Network, a database that tells you where to find seeds; Flora of North America; the Kemper Center for Home Gardening; and the University of Washington Burke Museum (for info about plants specific to the state of Washington). Those links will take you to pages about the Marsh Marigold, but once there you can search for others.

Marsh Marigold is not actually related to annual marigolds. It is more closely related to buttercups, which you can see in a closer look at the five-petaled flowers.

Wildflower Wednesday is hosted by Gail Eichelberger, on the blog clay and limestone. It's a monthly celebration of wildflowers around the world. Gail's post today is also about an edible wildflower, but hers doesn't require boiling. Go there now and check out other bloggers' posts about the wildflowers they grow in their gardens.


  1. Thanks for the cool links! Marsh marigold is one of my favoirtes as it grew and bloomed all through the creek that ran the length of my home town in Alaska. Whenever I see Marsh Marigold, I become a child again searching through the water to see tiny fish hiding in the plants.

  2. Can't imagine, boiling, boiling, boiling and boiling again. It's so very pretty, and I didn't realize that some of the flowers are semi-doubles - just lovely.

  3. Beautiful wildflower!
    I love your stream, too!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea's Menagerie

  4. I love your water garden! I'm glad you have found such a sweet native plant that survives the raccoons and are figuring out other ways to protect your plants.

  5. I think we have those growing wild here also. They are very pretty. Thanks for sharing. I needed some flowers as we got a lot of snow last weekend.

  6. Alison, the marsh marigolds are just lovely. I also think your stream and waterfall is gorgeous! I love buttercups and every spring the creek across the road in the woods is a carpet of yellow glory.

    What is it with raccoons this year? We are overrun with them. The game camera captures image after image of roaming gangs of them hanging around and the snow is still 3' deep. I'm glad you've found some way to thwart their troublemaking ways.

    I got a good chuckle out of the boiling stuff over and over again, ha!

  7. Your stream is beautiful, and so are the marsh marigolds! I don't have the right kind of setting, but my brother grows some in his small backyard pond. Great post!

  8. I love Marsh Marigold and many plants from the buttercup family. They can so take care of themselves and apparently hold their own against the raccoons. Your stream is beautiful...sighing and dreaming of how I might talk Mr I into helping me dig one! gail

  9. That is such a delightful & cheery plant ... but what really wowed me is your stream! I would love to do that somewhere in my garden but the Executive Producer is even less likely to help me with such an endeavor than Gail's Mr I!


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