Ficaria verna
Common Name: fig buttercup 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Europe, northwest Africa, southwest Asia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils in part shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ficaria verna, commonly known as lesser celandine, is a weedy, tuberous rooted, herbaceous perennial that features bright, buttercup-like, yellow flowers that bloom in spring (March to May) and spreading rosettes of glossy, ovate-cordate, fleshy, dark green leaves (to 2”). This is a spring ephemeral. Plants form foliage mounds to 3-4” tall, with flower stems rising to 8-9” tall. When in bloom, colonies of plants are easily spotted, dense and vigorous. Mats of foliage exclude most other vegetation. After flowering, the plant foliage dies back by early summer as the plants go dormant. Lesser celandine is native to Europe and eastern Asia. It was introduced into North America many years ago (presumably for ornamental purposes), but has now naturalized in 19 states in the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest and eastern Canada. In wild areas, plants may spread over time to form large colonies sometimes covering several acres of land, and in the process compete with and displace less vigorous native spring ephemerals. Bulblets on above ground stems and underground tubers are the primary methods of propagation. And the spread of those bulblets and tubers can be accelerated by such factors as animal digging and downstream flooding. Formerly known as Ranunculus ficaria.

Genus name comes from a medieval plant name probably from Ficus (fig) in reference to tubers somewhat resembling figs.

Specific epithet means of spring or spring-flowering.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails may appear. When planted in a garden, plants tend to spread invasively into adjacent areas.

Garden Uses

Because of invasive qualities, caution should be exercised in planting this perennial in the landscape. Some named cultivars are reportedly less aggressively than species plants.