Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold Cowslip

Names and Myths

Caltha Greek. Cup  or  goblet

palustris Latin marsh or swamp. The common name marigold may have come from English church rituals where the flower was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, hence the name “Mary-gold”6

Natural history / Folklore

Leaves boiled with several changes of water and used as greens.6 A root tea was used medicinally by Indians and Europeans, the raw plant is poisonous.12,32 The acrid irritants that are removed by boiling keep livestock from grazing on the leaves. They are one of a few species of wildflowers that can grow in the middle of a stream.17

Species List Family Group
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Mid April - Mid May Bright yellow flowers composed of 5 sepals and a whorl of 5 to 14 pistils. Shiny green heart-shaped leaves attached to a hollow stalk up to 2’ tall. Water’s edge.