Herbs & Plants

Caltha leptosepala

Botanical Name: Caltha leptosepala
Family: Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Caltha
Species: C. leptosepala

*C. lasopetala,C. leptostachya,

C. chelidonii,
*C. uniflora

Common Names: White marsh marigold, Twinflowered marsh marigold, Broadleaved marsh marigold, Western Marsh Marigold, Howell’s marsh marigold, Sulphur marsh marigold

Habitat:: Caltha leptosepala is native to Western N. America – Alaska to Oregon. It grows on open, wet, subalpine and alpine marshes, wet seepages and marshy meadows at elevations of 750 – 3900 metres.

Caltha leptosepala is a perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). It grows a mostly naked stem with leaves located basally. The leaves are up to 13 or 15 centimeters long and may have smooth, wrinkled, or toothed edges. It is in flower from May to June. The inflorescence bears one or more flowers. Each flower is 1 to 4 centimeters wide and lacks petals, having instead petallike sepals which are usually white or sometimes yellow. In the center are many long, flat stamens and fewer pistils.
The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, beetles, flies.


A plant of the waterside, it prefers growing in a sunny position in wet soils or shallow water, though it will tolerate drier conditions if there is shade from the summer sun. It requires a deep rich slightly acidic soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -20c. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in late summer. Stand the pots in 2 – 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a tray of water in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Division in early spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Edible Uses:
Roots are eaten but they must be well cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity. Flower buds – raw, cooked or pickled and used as a caper substitute. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves, before the flowers emerge are eaten raw or cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity. Older leaves, before the plant flowers, can be eaten if well cooked properly.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is antispasmodic and expectorant. It has been used to remove warts. A poultice of the chewed roots has been applied to inflamed wounds.

Known Hazards: The whole plant, but especially the older portions, contains the toxic glycoside protoanemanin – this is destroyed by heat. The sap can irritate sensitive skin.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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