Wisconsinites asked to keep an eye out for invasive plant

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 18:10:28-04

MADISON (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is calling on gardeners, paddlers, and hikers to keep an eye out for an invasive plant.

The DNR says Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria or Ficaria verna) is an aggressive invasive plant whose showy yellow flowers are visible now. According to the DNR, the plant invades forests, wetlands, and shoreland areas, as well as upland areas and disturbed areas such as lawns.

The plant, also known as fig buttercup, is poisonous to livestock and humans, and infestations of this plant kill offspring wildflowers in woodlands. The DNR says it's lesser celadine is a prohibited species under the state’s invasive species rule. It is illegal to sell, transfer or transport prohibited species and they must be controlled when found on public or private land.

Most lesser celandine found in Wisconsin were in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and Lake Geneva, with a few plants reported in Madison and Rock County as well, the DNR says.

The plant is a low-growing perennial in the buttercup family with kidney- to heart-shaped leaves and showy, daisy-like yellow flowers very early in spring. Lesser celandine resembles native marsh marigold, but the larger marsh marigold has five to nine petals while lesser celandine has eight petals.

Please submit reports of lesser celandine populations by emailing or contact a regional Aquatic Invasive Species Regional Coordinator near you.