Marsh-marigold / kingcup

Herbs profile

  • Latin Name: Caltha palustris
  • Calthula: lat. woman’s dress in yellow colour
  • Palus: lat. swamp
  • Family: Buttercup Family/Ranunculaceae
  • Feed type: Herbs
Marsh-marigold / kingcup - Caltha palustris

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)

The marsh marigold is a plant species of the genus Caltha within the Ranunculaceae family. It is widespread in the northern hemisphere in Eurasia and North America.

The marsh marigold is a perennial semi-rosette plant. It grows to 15 to 60 cm depending on its location. The marsh marigold has a tubular, hollow stem. The golden yellow colour of the petals comes from carotenoids, which were also used to colour butter.

There is plenty of nectar available for flower visitors, which is secreted at the base of the pistils. Unlike other plants, the marsh marigold keeps its flowers open when it rains.

They fill with water and as the stamens and scars of the pistils are at the same height, they can fertilise themselves in this way. The seeds from the bellows fruits contain air-filled tissue and are buoyant and adapted to life in a humid environment.

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Occurrence of the marsh marigold

The marsh marigold is a characteristic species of the nutrient-rich wet meadows and marsh meadows and is strongly declining in these due to drainage measures.

Effect of the marsh marigold

The marsh marigold contains protoanemonine and is slightly toxic when fresh. It is therefore avoided by grazing livestock as long as sufficient fodder plants are available. Protoanemonin is broken down during drying and is therefore no longer relevant in hay.

The buds used to be cooked as capers and pickled in vinegar. Due to the ingredients, however, this use should be avoided.


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