Index- plants in this Family
Ranunculaceae / Buttercups
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)
Marsh Marigold is also known as Yellow Marsh Marigold, Cowslip, American Cowslip, Water Blobs, May Blobs, Horse Blobs, Bull's Eyes Leopard's Foot and numerous others..

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 60cm in height (24inches). The stem is hollow.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can be as wide as 15 cm (6inches). Each leaf is finely toothed, rounded, with a cordate base. The basal leaves have long petioles.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 to 9 Regular Parts (petal like sepals). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into late spring. The stamens are numerous (50-120).
Habitat: Wet areas, bogs, swamps, wet woods and shallow water.
Range: Circumboreal and as far south as the mountains of Tennessee and South Carolina. In the western U. S. it is found in a few locations in the Pacific coastal states.

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Caltha, the genus name, comes from Greek (calathos) and means "cup" which describes the flowers as they open. Palustris is from Latin and means "of the marsh".

Warning: All parts of the plant are irritating and toxic when eaten raw due to the presence of the protoanemonin, a volatile yellow oil. Dried plants probably do not have the irritating effect as the protoanemonin evaporates in time.

Lore: The leaves may be eaten if boiled twice (or more) changing the water each time. The buds, boiled and pickled, have been compared to capers. Because it is so irritating cattle quickly learn to avoid it.

Medical Uses: The irritating properties have been used in external preparations to treat warts and to relieve rheumatic pain. Ojibwas made a cough syrup from the leaf extract and maple sugar.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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