Marsh marigold is an herbaceous perennial growing to 1 to 2 feet in height and equal width. Mounds of light green, rounded leaves with scalloped edges emerge very early in spring. The foliage quickly yields to clusters of bright yellow, 5-petaled flowers, each roughly the size of a quarter. The flowers bloom continually for one or two weeks before developing interesting mace-shaped fruits. Each spike of this fruit is an individual seed capsule that, when dry, explodes, catapulting seeds into the surrounding vegetation. Marsh marigold exhibits an ephemeral habit; emerging, blooming, and setting seed in spring before entering dormancy with the heat of the summer.
Marsh marigold is an excellent garden plant for moist, rich borders and naturalized and woodland gardens. The plants are wonderful in bloom and with adequate moisture the foliage will hang on through mid-summer.
Marsh marigold grows within floodplains, wet woods, and marshes throughout the northern United States and Canada. The species is considered circumboreal in distribution, found growing in far northern Europe and Asia as well as North America.
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