Lesser celandine

(Question)

I’ve been able to identify that it’s fig buttercup (lesser celandine) that is taking over in my garden. Could you please provide information on how to effectively manage and remove this invasive species, including the use of a herbicide if appropriate? My property is on the Rouge River, and I’m concerned about this aggressive plant spreading beyond my garden beds into the naturalized areas of our property.

Thank you for your assistance.

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about eradicating lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) from your property. We applaud your ethical concern to prevent it from reaching the Rouge River Valley and your own woodland spaces.
This non-native plant was introduced to this continent sometime during the 19th century as an ornamental. Without natural enemies here, it has spread with the speed of light.

This invasive plant’s leaves appear in late winter, forming a dense mat which prevents the growth of almost every other plant, even English Ivy. Lesser Celadine can be pulled from damp ground, but every little bit of the small tubers must be removed to control this plant. Mowing and tilling causes Lesser Celadine to spread further.

Our Ask a Master Gardener archive has two responses to earlier enquiries, both of which wil be of interest and help to you including methods of eradication.

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/what-is-this-pla…lesser-celandine/ and  https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/i-have-the-worst-weeds-ever/

We wish you well in ridding your garden of this unwanted weed.