Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine
Lesser Celandine. Ranunculus ficaria, formerly Ficaria grandiflora.
Ranunculaceae, the buttercup or crowfoot family.

Plant: Low spreading plant, growing from underground tubers, with heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow, long-petaled flowers.
Flowers: Yellow, about 1" across, with 8-10 (commonly 8) long, strap-like petals, three sepals, and many stamens. The flowers are borne singly on medium-length stems that rise above the leaves.
Leaves: Basal, sometimes appearing opposite, and tending to form a mat; shiny green, heart-shaped, stalked, margin smooth or obscurely toothed, and typically undulating out of the plane of the leaf.
Blooming: April-May
Habitat: Damp areas in open woods or clearings.

Comments: An early spring flower, the plants often carpet large areas. This species is introduced from Europe, and considered an invasive weed in many areas. In common with many members of the buttercup family, the plant has poisonous astringent properties. Supposedly the young leaves, gathered before flowering can be eaten as a salad green. I would exercise caution.

Where to find it: One patch on the west side of the park near one of the Islamic center outbuildings.