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Ficaria verna

Biological Category 
Species Type 
Other Herbaceous
NY Invasiveness Rank 
Very High
LHPrism Status 
Tier 3 - Established
Key Characteristics 
Flower has 8 – 12 yellow petals which are narrow and shiny and has green sepals underneath the petals. Blooms March - April.
Small bulblets form along the stem where the leaf joins. The root also has small potato-like tubers
Growth Form
An herbaceous perennial plant with dark green, kidney shaped leaves with wavy edges that emerges in February and disappears by June.

Vertical Tabs


A member of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), lesser celandine displays the bright yellow spring-blooming flowers common to many genera in the family. (3)

Leaves are dark green, occasionally mottled, highly glossy, and somewhat heart-shaped. Approximately 1 inch long by one inch wide, leaves are held on long stalks and amassed in a low, basal rosette. 

Glossy yellow flowers have 8-12 narrow petals, and are conspicuous in early spring, when little else is blooming. Approximately 0.4-0.7 inches across, flowers are held on long, glossy stalks above the leaves. 

See the differences between lesser celandine and the native marsh marigold here.

Introduction History 
Likely introduced via the horticultural trade. Lesser celandine is now documented in 24 states. (5)
Ecology and Habitat 
Lesser celandine colonizes a multitude of different environments from riparian corridors, forested floodplains, wet meadows, herbaceous wetlands to lawns, old fields, and roadsides. The species grows best in moist soils. (2)
Reproduction and Phenology 
Although Lesser celandine can reproduce both sexually and asexually, most of its seeds are abortive. The species spreads primarily via abundant underground tubers and bulblets which are spread by water and digging animals. Each tuber or bulblet, once separated from its parent plant has the potential to grow into a new plant. (4) Vectors include water, birds, mammals and horticultural trade. (2)
Impacts of this species 

Lesser celandine is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe. Spreading rapidly via underground tubers and bulblets, this early emerging spring plant forms dense vegetative mats, outcompeting spring ephemerals and other native plants, drastically altering community composition and reducing biodiversity. (2) 

Management Methods 

Biological Control
No biological control option is currently available.

Manual or Mechanical Control
Pulling / Digging Up: Hand pulling or digging small infestations is possible but care must be taken to remove all roots, tubers and bulblets. (4)

Mowing: Not applicable

Girdling: Not applicable

Prescribed Fire: No information available

Prescribed Grazing: Not applicable

Soil Tilling: Tilling is not a recommended method of control as Lesser celandine often colonizes fragile, wet soils vulnerable to erosion and easily re-sprouts from scattered or fragmented bulblets and tubers.

Mulching: Not advised

Solarization: Not applicable

Hot Foam Spray: No information available

Chemical Control
The pesticide application rates and usage herein are recommendations based on research and interviews with land managers.  When considering the use of pesticides, it is your responsibility to fully understand the laws, regulations and best practices required to apply pesticides in a responsible manner.  At times, the pest you seek to treat may not be on a pesticide label, requiring a 2ee exemption from NYSDEC.  Always thoroughly read the label of any pesticide and consult the NYSDEC or a licensed pesticide applicator with questions.

Foliar Spray: Apply a 1-2% solution of wetland-safe glyphosate product in late winter to early spring. Some experts recommend spraying prior to ephemeral leaf-out and amphibian emergence to minimize non-target species impacts, however, follow up treatment will likely be necessary in 2-3 weeks, or during next year’s management season. (6)

Cut Stump: Not applicable

Basal Bark: Not applicable


Stem Injection: Not applicable

Pre-Emergent Spray: Not applicable

Summary of Best Managment Practices 

General management overview and recommendation
As with any other invasive infestation, large occurrences of lesser celandine are best managed via a combination of mechanical and chemical means.  Small seedlings or outlying plants can be hand pulled but care must be taken to remove all bulblets and roots. Dense patches must be sprayed to attain good control. All managed infestations should be monitored to prevent reinvasion from nearby populations. Any new seedlings or occurrences can be hand pulled or sprayed. 

Post treatment monitoring
Controlled populations should be revisited at least 2-3 times a season for at least 2-3 years to ensure exhaustion of the seed bank and that no re-sprouting has occurred. 

Disposal Methods 
All material must be bagged and disposed of in a landfill.