Today marks seven years since I started at the garden. It’s fitting that today’s BPotD is one of my favourite plants. Caltha palustris, or marsh marigold, is a species of firsts for me. I remember it as being the first species I could certainly identify and the first species where I knew the scientific name. In other words, it represented the conceptual passage for me from “flower” and “pine tree” and “shrub” to Caltha palustris, Pinus banksiana and Viburnum rafinesquianum. I also remember marsh marigold as revealing to me the relative rarity of masses of blooms of one species (an example of what I mean) – or, to clarify, the uncommon encountering of these visual treats by (sub)urbanites like myself.
Marsh marigold is native to much of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. In many places, it is among the first to bloom in the springtime (where I grew up, it was often the third noticeable flower, after coltsfoot and prairie crocus). Palustris means “of a marsh”, indicating the typical habitat for this species.
I should note that this species is poisonous – not a surprise, if you’ve been reading other entries featuring species in the Ranunculaceae. The Plants for a Future database has more on its chemical properties.
A few updates on the Hydatellaceae story – three more photographs have been added, as well as a few media report links. If permission is granted, there’ll also be another piece of artwork later today. I’m still waiting for the NPR and BBC interviews to be available online, though. Sean has told me he’s also inquired with Nature re: making the paper available.