A wildflower from the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), the marsh marigold is a water plant you find growing along creek banks in early spring. The bright yellow flowers of the marsh marigold are easy to mistake for the cowslip. Both are widespread over Europe, Asia, and the U.S. However, the cowslip is a denizen of fields and pastures while the water-loving marsh marigold inhabits sloughs and stream banks.
Like true marigolds, marsh marigolds have been used for medicinal purposes throughout history and have appeared in literature as far back as the time of Shakespeare. The complete plant is edible but bitter in taste if eaten raw. Most often, the leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach.
The marsh marigold sprouts from large tufts of growth that spawn large, glossy, kidney-shaped leaves and long, hollow stems, which seem to split into two flower stalks, each bearing a single blossom that may reach two inches in diameter.
You may see wild marsh marigolds in bloom from mid-March through June, but then this demure plant seems to vanish as quickly as it appeared in the spring!
Definitely a wildflower, the plant is an herbaceous perennial that is well suited as an addition to garden pond edges. Tolerant of light levels from full sun to part shade, the marsh marigold is also a good choice for container gardening in shallow water features.
To grow the marsh marigold, keep the soil mucky. The marsh marigold is one plant that does like wet feet! Even during dormancy, be sure to keep the soil moist. Propagate the marsh marigold by dividing its roots in the autumn.Pot (Common) Marigold →