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Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Guindon Park, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
May 7, 2011

I was wandering around the trails and I remembered one area from last year where the pond was full of these yellow beauties. I decided to check it out, and, although the trail itself was almost impassable due to the water and mud, I wasn’t disappointed. What a sight lay before me!

With thanks to Wikipedia

Caltha palustris (Kingcup, Marsh Marigold) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the buttercup family, native to marshes, fens, ditches and wet woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

It becomes most luxuriant in partial shade, but is rare on peat. In the UK, it is probably one of the most ancient British native plants, surviving the glaciations and flourishing after the last retreat of the ice, in a landscape inundated with glacial meltwaters.

Height is up to 80 centimetres (31 in) tall. The leaves are rounded to kidney-shaped, 3–20 centimetres (1.2–7.9 in) across, with a bluntly serrated margin and a thick, waxy texture. Stems are hollow.

The flowers are yellow, 2–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter, with 4-9 (mostly 5) petal-like sepals and many yellow stamens; they appear in early spring to late summer. The flowers are visited by a great variety of insects for pollen and for the nectar secreted from small depressions, one on each side of each carpel.

Carpels form into green sac-like follicles to 1 cm long, each opening to release several seeds.
Caltha palustris is a highly polymorphic species, showing continuous and independent variation in many features. Forms in the UK may be divided into two subspecies: Caltha palustris subsp. palustris, and Caltha palustris subsp. minor.

It is sometimes considered a weed in clayey garden soils, where every piece of its root will survive and spread. In warm free-draining soils, it simply dies away.

As is the case with many members of the Ranunculaceae, all parts of the plant are poisonous and can be irritant. Skin rashes and dermatitis have been reported from excessive handling of the plant.

In North America Caltha palustris is sometimes known as cowslip. However, cowslip more often refers to Primula veris, the original plant to go by that name. Both are herbaceous plants with yellow flowers, but Primula veris is much smaller.

Caltha palustris is a plant commonly mentioned in literature, including Shakespeare:
“Winking Marybuds begin
To open their golden eyes” (Cymbeline, ii. 3).

“Kingcup Cottage” by Racey Helps is a children’s book which features the plant.

In Latvia Caltha palustris is also known as Gundega which is also used as a girls name which symbolizes fire. The word Gundega is made from 2 words – uguns (fire) and dega (burned). This refers to the burning reaction that some people experience from contact with Caltha sap.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 to 300 at 300 mm, circular polarizer
iso 100, spot metered, F6.3, 1/80 second

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

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  • linmarie
    linmarieover 3 years ago

    great shots of them Mike, I love the two too the side here as well, because you left some of the marsh for us to enjoy, I love marshes and swamps.. their color is such a brilliant sunshine yellow..peace and love linmarie

  • Many, many thanks, Linmarie, and thanks, too, for the lovely compliment of adding this to your favourites! That little part of the park is so beautiful to see – the marigolds are everywhere!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 3 years ago

  • Thanks, Larry!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Istvan froghunter
    Istvan froghunterover 3 years ago

    Beautiful capture Mike!

  • Greatly appreciated, Istvan, and many thanks for the “fave”, too! Cheers!

    – Mike Oxley

  • deb cole
    deb coleover 3 years ago

    Just lovely, Mike! Isn’t it nice to wander the marsh without your “personal mozzie crowd” following you around? Sigh, won’t be long now! Very nicely done!

  • Many thanks, Deb! It was so nice to see them back in full bloom again. It only took a couple of days, too. And, yes, MOPCOM was conspicuous by its absence. There was the odd one buzzing about, but nothing serious. Another month or so and I won’t be able to get near, particularly after this rather wet Spring.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Fred Mitchell
    Fred Mitchellover 3 years ago

    A marsh with no mozzies. I didn’t think they existed. I like the marigolds.

  • Thanks, Fred. The mozzies are pretty much wiped out during the winter, but come back with a vengeance in the summer. It’s almost impossible to walk the trails until autumn and the cooler weather arrives again.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Sprezzatura
    Sprezzaturaover 3 years ago

    Hidden gold, Mike, and a bonus of another two gorgeous marsh images. Very interesting information. Reminds me of the buttercup in the UK. Cat:)

  • Thanks so very much, Cat. They are really prevalent in this part of the trails. One part is just full of these lovely flowers and they’re so nice to see. We do have a buttercup up this way, too. Its called “Meadow Buttercup” Kanunculus acris.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Aase
    Aaseover 3 years ago

    Very beautiful work and presentation!

  • Many thanks for your very kind words, Aase, and many thanks, too for the lovely compliment of the “fave”. Greatly appreciated!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1over 3 years ago

    Great shot – I remember seeing these in England, but have never seen them here

  • Many thanks for the lovely comment, Shulie. There is one area of the ski trails where the water remains pretty much all year round and these have taken up residence there. I came across them for the first time last year and they’re everywhere!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Colin Metcalf
    Colin Metcalfover 3 years ago

    Marvellous shot!

  • Much appreciated, Colin, and many thanks for the “fave”, too! Cheers!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Elfriede Fulda
    Elfriede Fuldaover 3 years ago

    These are delightful, I haven’t ever seen them in our ponds, marshes, I love how you captured them , great clarity. the ones on the right are just as beautiful. I am fascinated where they grow. Thanks for sharing all this great info…

  • Thanks so very much for the lovely comments, Elfie! Greatly appreciated! I was happy to find a couple of plants last Spring, but when went out a few days later, I came across a pond full of them on another trail. So wonderful to see. And when I went back this year there were even more!

    – Mike Oxley

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