Friday, March 16, 2012

Lesser Celandine Blooming, But Mostly Spreading

 I wish I could go back to the first time I saw this flower and could appreciate its beauty without being worried it would take over all of Princeton. At Pettoranello Gardens it grows like green pavement next to the paths, blooms beautifully, but is radically invasive. Since becoming established at Pettoranello Gardens, it has spread downstream and has now become established in floodplains at Mountain Lakes Preserve. It displaces native plants, is apparently inedible to wildlife, and though it's pretty for a couple weeks, the rest of the time it's busy making natural areas less supportive of plant diversity and wildlife.
 In a suburban yard, it first appears as a couple plants, with small, roundish, shiny leaves.
It displaces the grass over time, then dies back in late spring to leave bare spots in the lawn. Its many underground bulbules make it hard to eradicate by pulling.

Lesser Celandine has started to show up in my former home of Durham, NC, where I've been trying to help eradicate small populations before they spread downstream.

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