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Marsh Marigold

(Caltha palustris)

Other Names:

erroneously called Cowslip



Ranunculaceae Buttercup family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Herbaceous perennial


Can grow up to 3' tall


The leaves are deep green, glossy, round to kidney, or broadly heart shaped. Leaves are 1' - 8" across.


The stem is stout, hollow, and succulent.


Fibrous root system



Early spring to late summer


The 1" - 1" deep yellow flowers are buttercup-like, only larger, and have 5 petal like sepals.


Carpels form into green sac-like follicles to 1 cm long, each opening to release several seeds.


Bogs, Wet woods, Marshes, Fens, Swamps, Along brooks and streams.

Parts Used:

Young Leaves, Flower buds


Wild Food Uses:

Cooked green, pickle. Collected before the plant has finished flowering, the young leaves, with stalks removed, are supposed to be excellent when cooked for 20 - 30 minutes, in 2 or 3 changes of water. The flower-buds can be used as capers when boiled for 10 minutes in 2 changes of water and pickled in hot vinegar. Do not drink the juice in which the buds have been pickled. This plant contains an acrid poison that is only dispelled upon cooking.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None known

Medicinal Actions:



This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield