Gung Hoe Gardener: Dig This Up If You See It In Your Yard Print

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By Neely Bower

Apr. 15, 2020: While killing time driving around Bronxville and the scenic roads of Westchester County, how many of you have marveled at the beautiful yellow flower growing wild along the roads and parkways? Well, marvel no more. This plant is called Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) and is an invasive species.

Lesser Celandine was brought to the United States as an ornamental plant in the 1970s for two residences in Cleveland, Ohio. In less than 40 years later, Lesser Celandine was growing along the Rocky River in Ohio as well as much of the land around the Bronx River Parkway.

Why is Lesser Celandine invasive? It can grow anywhere, even on steep rocky hills and sun or shade, and it grows in a thick mat. All this leaves no room for native species and causes problems with our ecosystem because the local birds and the bees feed on native plants.

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In other words, while pretty, this plant is not a good one to have in our yards.

The best way to remove Lesser Celandine is to dig it up, which can be very time consuming unless you get it right away before it takes over.

Maybe vinegar, salt, and Dawn detergent in a pump sprayer would work? I guess that will be my next project. Wave if you see me on the Bronx River Parkway.

Photos by N. Bower and A. Warner