WSU Extension


Weeds : Lesser celandine : Ficaria verna
(revision date: 10/28/2020)

Family: Ranunculaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Lesser celandine is a noxious weed. It is highly variable and has club-shaped, tuberous roots. The weed grows as a mounded rosette with basal and stem leaves and can be 16 inches tall. The leaves are medium to dark green, oblong, heart or triangular in shape and often with a paler underside. The leaf edges can be smooth or have rounded teeth. The flowers are typically yellow with 7-13 petals, about an inch in diameter, and solitary on stem tips.Lesser celandine can reproduce by movement of the tuberous roots or by the bulbils that form in leaf axils. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Lesser celandine can be confused with the native yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). The yellow marsh marigold does not have tuberous roots, produce bulbils, and has only petal-like sepals.
Lesser celandine can grow in woodlands, wetlands, along streambanks, in landscaped areas, and along roadsides.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Prevent its introduction. Do not plant lesser celandine or its cultivars.
  • Hand dig making certain to remove all plant parts. Bag and dispose of plant parts. Do not compost.
  • Do not mow as it can spread the bulbils and seeds.
  • Sheet mulch with a thick layer of wood chips (6 inches) to smother plants
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply a systemic herbicide in late winter to spring to avoid damaging native herbaceous plants.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
Turf areas
    Bare ground areas
    • glyphosate
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    Caption: Lesser celandine flower
    Photo by: E. Johnson
    Caption: Lesser celandine close-up
    Photo by: S. Campbell
    Caption: Lesser celandine plant
    Photo by: S. Campbell
    Caption: Lesser celandine patch
    Photo by: S. Campbell
    Caption: Lesser celandine
    Photo by: S. Campbell