Ranunculus ficaria (Ficaria verna) lesser celandine Ranunculaceae  RAFI*; Bx, bg, br, g, pb, rd, wv (Yost et al. 1991); NY, ct; Q, cu (Greller 1991), lk; K, p; R, cr (U. Lorimer 2017), gb, r, w;

Ranunculus ficaria.Graham Calow.www.naturespot.org.uk(15.3.2006).

Ranunculus ficaria.Graham Calow.www.naturespot.org.uk(15.3.2006). (Accessed 5/2014).

Ranunculus ficaria is a perennial herb, spring ephemeral, extensively, aggressively colonial, forming dense, low mats from tuberous roots, stems succulent, reclining 10-30 cm long, leaves die off as canopy closes in late May, dormant by late May-early June; sap toxic. 

Leaves alternate, bluntly heart-shaped, shiny, basal; often with small bulbs in axils. 


Ranunculus ficaria.roots.with bulbs.Invasive Plant Atlas of New England.eddmaps.org (Accessed 2/2017).

Flowers yellow, buttercup-like, 2 cm wide, petals 8-12, March-April. 

Fruits dry achenes. 

Wetland status: UPL but usually in moist soil of flood plains (Gargiullo, personal observation). 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. Very extensive local colonies. 

Origin: Eurasia. 

Ranunculus ficaria.en.wikipedia.org

Ranunculus ficaria.en.wikipedia.org (Accessed 5/2014).

Habitat: Mostly found growing in moist soil. In NYC found in soil with pH 6.5-7.6 (Gargiullo unpublished data). Part shade, woods, edges, stream banks, flood plains. 

Notes: Seeds and plants eaten by many birds and mammals (Martin et al. 1951). Erythronium americanum and Claytonia virginiana have been observed to sometimes come up sparingly through colonies of lesser celandine (Gargiullo, personal observation). Contains the toxic oil protoanemonin (Kingsbury 1964).