Thursday, February 16, 2012

Marsh Marigold

Marsh Marigold Pictures, Images and Photos
With Spring soon to be here in my own state of Maine.I would like to talk about the Marsh Marigold.You can go to some towns here and hike into a brook and find none.Then...There are other places where they grow in abundance.
The marsh marigold, or cowslip as it’s known to its close friends, is a wildflower. Technically, as the name would imply, marsh marigolds grow in marshy areas. Most descriptions of it would imply that they will only grow in consistently wet and shady areas, but from personal experience, I can honesty state these things will grow anywhere except severe drought.
marsh marigold Pictures, Images and Photos

It grows beautifully all over my yard and my neighbor’s yard (which is where I snitched them from to begin with). It grows best where the ground is consistently wet and the light is shady, but there are many areas where it only gets marsh like conditions for a few weeks per year. The rest of the year, the conditions are dry with normal rainfall providing the water. As a matter of fact, my neighbor has theirs up on a mound that could not possibly stay wet all year.

Marsh marigolds bloom in early spring and are done blooming by late spring. After that, their dark green, ruffled heart shaped leaves make a great ground cover for the remainder of the year. From what I can tell, they are evergreen. So even in the winter months, they add a nice green color to an otherwise drab winter.

The flowers are yellow and are family to buttercups. It has knock-off petals that look like the petals you would pay big bucks for but in fact they are really petaloid sepals.
marsh marigold Pictures, Images and Photos

Best of all, when the rest of the garden is still trying to decide if it is safe to come out yet, marsh marigolds are dotting the world with little yellow spots of sunshine.
Medicinal use of Marsh Marigold:
Every part of this plant is strongly irritant and so it should be used with caution. The whole plant is anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and rubefacient. It has been used to remove warts and is also used in the treatment of fits and anaemia. The root is antirheumatic, diaphoretic, emetic and expectorant. A decoction is used in the treatment of colds. A poultice of the boiled and mashed roots has been applied to sores. A tea made from the leaves is diuretic and laxative. All parts of the plant can irritate or blister the skin or mucous membranes.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to July
Habitat of the herb:
Wet areas in marshes, fens, ditches and wet alder woods. Rare on very base poor peat.
marsh marigold Pictures, Images and Photos
Edible parts of Marsh Marigold:
Root - must be well cooked. The raw root should not be eaten. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flower buds - raw, cooked or pickled and used as a caper substitute. Eating the raw flower buds can lead to intoxication. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves - raw or cooked. The leaves are harvested in the spring as the plant is coming into flower and is used like spinach after cooking in two or more changes of water. Eating the raw leaves can lead to intoxication. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Older leaves, before the plant flowers, can be eaten if they are well cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:
A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers, a saffron substitute. It is used as a dye when mixed with alum, though it is not very permanent. Plants can be grown for ground cover when planted about 45cm apart each way.

Propagation of Marsh Marigold:
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in late summer. Stand the pots in 2 - 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a tray of water in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in early spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:
Wet areas in marshes, fens, ditches and wet alder woods. Rare on very base poor peat.

Known hazards of Caltha palustris:
The whole plant, but especially the older portions, contains the toxic glycoside protoanemonin - this is destroyed by heat. The sap can irritate sensitive skin.


  1. Excellent post! We make a marsh marigold flower bud capers by pickling them. Thank you so much for the reminder. Wild spring will be here soon. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Very wonderful info my Long-Time Sister!!!
    Good to see you here this morning...and
    good to hear your voice the other day...I love
    it when we can laugh together.

    Oh! And Rea has a superb blog! :)

    It looks like spring this morning...did yesterday too.
    The sun is warm, and the temps are in the 40's...I'm
    thinking it is not far away now. I can't wait to get
    out and hang up my hummingbird feeders and get to rootin' around to see what's coming up. I'm lookin' at catalogs now, he he.

    Okay...I be lovin' you huge! :)

  3. Thank you Rea...I have never tried doing them that way but surely will now.Thanks for coming by hope you enjoy the site.Peace and have a great day!

  4. Good Morning Sweet Akasa,yes I have been looking thru the catalogs too and just waiting for some hatchery cats to come so I can order my pullets this spring.I am pretty excited about it! Love you

  5. Good morning from Wolverhampton in the UK.
    Our marsh marigold flowers in our garden fish pond have come to an end and there are lots of dead flower heads with seeds in them.
    We have gathered some seeds and put them in a propagator in our house to keep them warm and hopefully they will germinate. Based on info from your website, we'll keep them moist and fingers crossed we can grow some more plants as these are really beautiful in spring.
    Has anyone else tried to grow marsh marigolds from seeds and did they get plants to grow?

  6. Thank you for all this information on Marsh marigolds. I love to see these brilliant yellow flowers for my stream bed each spring. Lovely gift from nature!