Marsh Marigold (above) - vs - Lesser Celandine (below)
Lesser Celandine can be found in open woods, waste areas, meadows, and floodplains preferring sandy soil. It closely resembles the Marsh Marigold and is often misidentified as such.
To tell the difference between the two it's important to know the native Marsh Marigold has only 5-9 petals where as the Lesser Celandine has 8-12, and the leaves of the Marsh Marigold are round sometimes kidney shaped where as the Lesser Celandine which has more of a heart shape.
Marsh Marigolds tend to stay in small bunches and do not have the same sort of underground tuber system that the Lesser Celandine have.
If left to go it will completely blanket the area displacing many native plant species, especially those with the similar spring-flowering life cycle. Some examples of native spring ephemerals which become choked out by the Lesser Celandine include bloodroot, wild ginger, spring beauty, harbinger-of-spring, twinleaf, squirrel-corn, trout lily, trilliums, Virginia bluebells, and many, many others. These plants provide critical nectar and pollen for native pollinators, and fruits and seeds for other native insects and wildlife species. Because Lesser Celandine emerges well in advance of the native species, it has a developmental advantage which allows it to establish and overtake areas rapidly.
But have you ever really sat with mosses?
Especially this time of year with their bright rich greens and yellows, the sporophytes rising high.
If you look close, there are even some hornworts ribboning through the moss!
Consider this your invitation to slow down and look closer this weekend.
Tomorrow is the first day of spring, the Spring Equinox.
The change of each season is a great time to take a moment to reflect over the past season.
It has been a strange winter - extreme in both temperature and precipitation, not a peaceful calm winter of gentle snows and quiet moments. While I longed for the respite that comes with a calm season, sometimes we need the difficult times to appreciate the good and to learn to maneuver and grow.
At this point I could insert any number of cliches but really, life is hard, growth is hard, some days are so difficult to get through, but life is also beautiful, hope can be found around every corner, joy will return when you least expect it.
There's a balance to it all, a yin and yang dance to various degrees.
But enough waxing philosophical, what signs of spring have you been noticing?
Over the past month we've been watch the migratory waterfowl move back in to the area. Pintails, mergansers, and ringneck ducks speckling the wetlands.
In the woods, the tiniest early spring wildflowers begin to bloom. Here we found a Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) at Crall Woods in Ashland.
Many trees have started blooming already, the robins are growing abundant, and the days are growing longer.
Although it's snowing today, tomorrow brings spring and all the hope of a new season.
Let me know in the comments what signs of spring you're seeing.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.