Caltha Palustris

Caltha Palustris


Caltha Palustris

The oldest description that is generally acknowledged in the botanical literature dates from 1700 under the name Populago by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in part 1 of his Institutiones rei herbariae. He distinguished between P. flore major, P. flore minor and P. flore plena, and already says all of these are synonymous to Caltha palustris, without mentioning any previous author. As a plant name published before 1 May 1753, Populago.


Caltha palustris is a very variable species. Since most character states occur in almost any combination, this provides little basis for subdivisions. The following varieties are nevertheless widely recognised. They are listed with their respective synonyms. If an epithet based on the same type specimen is used at different levels, only the use at the highest taxonomic rank is listed, so as C. himalensis is already listed, C. palustris var. himalensis is not.In western Europe, the marsh-marigold moth Micropterix calthella bites open the anthers of the marsh-marigold and other plants to eat the pollen. The caterpillars that are present in summer and autumn also feed on marsh-marigold, although these are sometimes found on mosses too. Another visitor of Caltha palustris in western Europe is the leaf beetle Prasocuris phellandrii, which is black with four orange stripes and around ½ cm and eats the sepals. Its larvae inhabit the hollow stems of members of the parsley family.

Caltha contains several active substances of which the most important from a toxicological point of view is protoanemonin. Larger quantities of the plant may cause convulsions, burning of the throat, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dizziness and fainting. Contact of the skin or mucous membranes with the juices can cause blistering or inflammation, and gastric illness if ingested. Younger parts seem to contain less toxics and heating breaks these substances down. Small amounts of Caltha in hay do not cause problems when fed to husbandry, but larger quantities lead to gastric illness.Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold) matures to 2' in height and has large, yellow flowers noticeably blooming early spring in the wetlands. Attractive glossy, heart-shaped leaves add to its appeal. This foliage is acidic so mammalian herbivores generally avoid it. It grows in all light conditions, from full sun to full shade. Marsh Marigold, a member of the Buttercup (Ranunculus) family, can be planted along stream banks or near water gardens in small clumps or large patches. It can tolerate standing water in the spring during its bloom season. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)


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