Lawn weed ID

Asked April 20, 2018, 12:35 PM EDT

I have this weed that reminds me of duck weed in ponds that is aggressively taking over my lawn. It has succulent stems and leaves and has bright yellow buttercup-looking flowers with pointed petals. When I pull on a clump of it, often it will come out with a clump having a small bulb looking base to it. Every spring the plants will suddenly, dry up by mid-May, but they reappear with aggression every spring to take larger and larger sections of my lawn. Apparently, it is spreading by seed which gets blown to new sections of the lawn previously not having any of the weed. Additionally, I have been feeding this to my ducks and chickens. Is it just coincidence that some of my hens are bloating or does the plant have some kind of poison that is causing a GI tract disturbance? I will appreciate any help that you can give me. Have a great day! JL

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

This is lesser celandine (Ficaria verna). It is a very aggressive invasive weed. Small infestations should be dug up by hand. Be careful to remove the small tubers, as any left in the ground will allow new plants to germinate next spring. It also spreads by seeds. There is more information about this plant -- and options for controlling it -- here on our website.
The mature foliage, roots, and tubers of lesser celandine are toxic if consumed. The plant contains a blistering agent that can irritate the gastrointestinal tract.