1. Lesser Celandine (Also called "Fig Buttercup") 2. Ficaria verna (Formerly named Ranunculus ficaria, Ranunculus bulbosa) 3. Native range: Europe, North Africa, Asia. 4. New York State Invasive Species 5. Introduced to North America mid-1800s. (Probably as an ornamental)
March 1st. We are probably three to four weeks away from Lesser Celandine's emergence. Going back through my photo albums from the past several years, it seems to emerge at the end of March, beginning of April, depending on the weather.
Lesser Celandine is one of the first weeds to emerge that we need to attack. A Spring ephemeral, meaning, the plant emerges in mid March, flowers in April, and is gone, dies back, by early June. I think what happens with Lesser Celandine, what allows it to colonize and take over so much space so quickly in the landscape and garden, is that it emerges before people are actively tending to the garden and landscape. When it does emerge, it's not unsightly, and has attractive foliage and flowers. “Oh. Buttercups!” How can you feel threatened by buttercups? Left alone, the Lesser Celandine goes through a couple seasonal cycles, occupying more and more space, spreading through seed and root bulblets, and then runs clear across and entire garden. You can’t spray it because it is often nested right in close with your precious ornamentals. It gets out of hand quick.
Control. If its in the lawn, you can probably attack small outbreaks with manual digging. Most likely solution is spot treating with broadleaf weed control. In ornamentals, manual digging. Watch for it in late winter and early spring. Begin attacking it as soon a possible. Always dig it with a weed knife or trowel. Pull roots and soil out as the roots carry little bulblets that contribute to the plants spread. Attack, dig, and disturb every 2-3 weeks, never allowing it to get comfortable. It spreads, quickly! With larger infestations, some say you can limit its force with constant cutting back to the ground with a weed eater.