MARSH MARIGOLD (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold by the pond in the Pocket Park..

As both its English and Latin names tell us ("palustris" means marshy), the marsh marigold is a plant of damp places, to be found usually on stream or pond margins or in low-lying boggy ground. With the intensive draining of farmland, it is much less common than in former days.

From a little distance it looks like a big buttercup (it belongs to the same family). The large shiny yellow flowers, which may appear at any time in spring, consist of five "petals" - to be accurate, these are sepals, that is, modified leaves forming the outer covering of the flower bud. The leaves are fleshy and round-ish, and the whole plant stands erect, up to eighteen inches high, even in the roughest weather.

The marsh marigold's robust appearance has given rise to many other local names: kingcup is perhaps the commonest, but other delightful tags include May-blobs, pollyblobs, water-blobs, water-bubbles and even (in Lancashire) the publican!

Within our parish the best place to see marsh marigolds is the edge of the pond in the Pocket Park.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced by kind permission of Ordnance Survey
and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Text by George Metcalfe. Photos by Colin Wootton.