Need something for a wet area of your yard? Perhaps you are planning a rain garden? Do you want a plant that shines the color of the sun? Why not try marsh marigold (Caltha palustris – http://bit.ly/1meSAH3)? If you have spent any time in wet areas in the northern hemisphere, you may have come across this plant. Not a true marigold in the least, it is actually a member of the buttercup family. It begins blooming in April and will continue to do so until June. It has a nice growth habit, forming dense clumps, which can vary in overall appearance depending on region. Marsh marigold is native to wet areas throughout the northern hemisphere. This distribution is a product of the great land bridges that once connected the continents, back when sea levels were much lower than they are today. Marsh marigold is awake before many other wetland species and offers pollinators a nice meal during these sparse months. The seeds of this plant are also a great food source for water fowl. One of the best aspects of marsh marigold ecology is that it can grow in full sun, full shade, and everything in between. Unfortunately, marsh marigold is often confused in North America with the highly invasive lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria). While they do look similar when in bloom, the two can easily be distinguished. Marsh marigold is a much more robust plant with a clump-like growth habit whereas lesser celandine is much smaller and will quickly carpet an entire area. Give our native marsh marigold a try. You will not be disappointed!