Lesser Celandine, Pilewort, Fig Buttercup

Ficaria verna

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficaria (fye-KAIR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: verna (VER-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Ranunculus ficaria


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Winnetka, Illinois

Pikesville, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Maplewood, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Buffalo, New York

Medina, New York

Woodside, New York

Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)

Monroe, Ohio

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Amissville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 3, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A serious weed in gardens, this is a highly aggressive plant that has become a serious ecological problem. It outcompetes our beautiful native spring woodland wildflowers and has a serious negative effect on pollinating insects.

It has naturalized in 26 states and its range is rapidly expanding in the southeastern US. (It's been recently reported in TX, AL, SC and NC.) Common in the northeast, midwest, Pacific northwest, and southern Canada. Its purchase, sale, transportation, and planting are illegal in my state and at least one other.

It is easily spread by moving earth and by well-meant attempts to dig it out. The soil where it has grown is permeated with tubers to a depth of about 8 inches. I have never succeeded in controlling it with organic methods.... read more


On May 2, 2015, Bejuled from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This buttercup appeared in our lawns. Thought it was lovely until I identified it. It goes dormant in May here and leaves a bare spot in the lawn. Now I know why there are bare spots.
Will post a photo I took showing the above ground "bulblets" on the stems. Useful for ID'ing it when not in flower and differentiating it from Marsh Marigold (caltha palustris).


On Mar 22, 2013, HLilly from AMISSVILLE, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

We haven't planted this, but it's everywhere in our back yard. Quite pretty when it's in bloom, but it's on the invasive list and nearly impossible to get rid of, so I don't recommend planting it on purpose.


On Nov 21, 2011, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

I got this plant in Syracuse, NY and planted it under my smoke bush with the daffodils. Now they are smothering my dear daffodils and are into the lawn. They are beautiful, but don't plant them because they are bullies and take over, killing even the nice bulbs.


On Mar 2, 2011, OhioLarch from Monroe, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Terribly difficult to eradicate once established, this plant will overrun any other spring ephemerals you have.


On Jun 13, 2008, WNYwillieB from Buffalo, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have never planted this, however, it was dormant in the topsoil I saved from where I dug the foundation for my greenhouse (old lawn space).

I did not know anything about it, and kept right on gardening, digging up the soil, planting plants, which multiplied this plant, literally by the millions. Now it is EVERYWHERE, and you CANNOT PULL THIS UP.


This plant usually appears above ground in late February and usually dies back after late April.

It spreads mainly by tubercles (bulbils) that form in the leaf axils and rapidly colonise disturbed soil.

Attempting to dig out the plants often assists their spread as, unless great care is taken, this operation will distribute the tubercles.

... read more


On Apr 26, 2008, TodPA from Malvern, PA wrote:

I advise strongly against growing this plant. It is a non-native invasive throughout much of the Eastern U.S. About 15 years ago it began to appear at the edge of our property in S.E. PA, and now our 3-acre plot is completely overrun by it. It gets into everything... beds, lawn, natural areas, and is VERY hard to eradicate. I can't believe it is still legal to buy this plant!


On Mar 13, 2008, Jazz_HR from Ivanić-Grad,
Croatia (Zone 7a) wrote:

First year I liked it. I thought: nice ground cover in early spring,shiny leaves,cute yellow flowers, but now after couple years its the biggest trouble in my garden: its everywhere and I cant weeded it out especially among perennials, lots of rhizomes always stay and multiply horrible!


On Mar 28, 2006, sempervirens from Northern, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant is extremely invasive in my garden. It is crowding out all the lovely native spring ephemerals.


On Apr 22, 2005, ginapaloma from Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I never planted this, but it is taking over my garden! Every year I pull it out, and it comes back full-force (or worse) the next February.


On Sep 9, 2001, Baa wrote:

Variable, tuberous perennial from Europe, North West Africa and South West Asia. Has broad, heart shaped, hairless, glossy leaves which can be all sorts of green, marked with black, silver or almost completely purple-burgandy black upto 2 inches long. Bears solitary, cup shaped, yellow, white, green, orange with usually 8-12 petals. All flowers turn white with age.

Flowers March-May

Native to damp open ground, woods, hedges and lawns. Leaves die back in June and appear again in February the following year. Can be extremely invasive and difficult to control. It grows from bulbils which even if dug up the smallest bulbil with sprout the following year.

Their roots were used in the treatment of piles (which Culpepper stated they were a perfec... read more