Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris

Status Amber - Vulnerable and Near-Threatened
Best Time to See

Also known as 'kingcups' this stout wildflower could be one of our most ancient plants. Its thought it was growing here before the last Ice Age.

Marsh-marigold is a member of the buttercup family, a large, almost luxuriant version of its smaller cousin with bright yellow flowers and dark, shiny leaves. The latter are kidney shaped and quite waxy to touch - although doing so too often is best avoided: like all buttercups the marsh-marigold is poisonous and can irritate the skin.


Widespread throughout Britain.


A plant of wet meadows, marshes and wet woodlands, growing well in shade.

Best time to see

When in flowers March to June.


A common native species, whose distribution remains relatively stable in Britain. Locally threatened by drainage and agricultural improvement of its wet grassland habitat.

Key threats

Loss of habitat through drainage and abandonment

Did you know...

Marsh-marigold is also known as Mayflower - the name of the ship that carried the Pilgrim fathers to America. In Lancashire it is known as 'the publican' - maybe a reflection of its sturdy nature!