Have You Seen This Weed?

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is increasing its hold on Hendricks Park’s gardens, and it shows up here and there in the forest as well.  Glossy, dark green leaves about an inch across appear in late winter in lawns and garden beds. Shiny, bright yellow flowers appear as weather warms. The entire plant withers away by early summer, leaving bare patches of dirt in the lawn  

If you spot this plant in your garden, it’s worth taking action right away, while the patch is small. Established patches are hard to dig up. Below the soil surface, persistent little tubers multiply to form dense clusters many inches deep. The only sure way to remove celandine is to dig out the whole mass of tubers, soil and all, then throw it in the trash.

In the Rhododendron Garden, an effort is underway to kill off large areas of celandine with black woven plastic that excludes light. The plastic needs to remain in place for at least three years to be effective. 

The root of the invasive celandine plant, pulled from the ground by a volunteer at Hendricks Park, Eugene, Oregon. February 2021. Photo by Alice C. Walsh