Caltha palustris (NL: Gewone dotterbloem / EN: Kingcup, Marsh Marigold) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), native to marshes, fens, ditches and wet woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The specific name palustris, Latin for "of the marsh", indicates its common habitat. The flowers are yellow, 2–5 cm diameter, with 4-9 (mostly 5) petal-like sepals and many yellow stamens; they appear in early spring to late summer. The flowers are visited by a great variety of insects for pollen and for the nectar secreted from small depressions, one on each side of each carpel. Carpels form into green sac-like follicles to 1 cm long, each opening to release several seeds.
As is the case with many members of the Ranunculaceae, all parts of the plant are poisonous and can be irritant. Skin rashes and dermatitis have been reported from excessive handling of the plant.
Image: Zandhoven (BE) - 07/04/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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