Invasive Exotic Plants Threaten Missouri

Following is a post written by my father, Jack Harris, of St. Louis. While we were worrying about honeysuckle and winter creeper, he’s noticed another incredibly aggressive invader: ranunculus ficaria or “lesser celandine”.

For more information and photos about this subject, visit my friend Eric’s blog:


Presently there is an opportunity to observe an example of the power of an invasive exotic plant species to TOTALLY dominate the physical space peculiar to its growth habit.

Ranunculus ficaria 20121

The bottomland forest floor along Gravois Creek in Clydesdale Park, South St. Louis County as it appeared on 14 March 2012.  The green is ca 80 – 95% Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine) leaves. This plant is native to Eurasia.

Coverage is now nearly coterminous with the bottomland habitat boundary in large areas.  Any native species of bottomland plants that would normally be  trying to grow at this time have been crowded out by the leaf canopy (3 – 4 inches).   There is even less emerging garlic mustard visible now than we have seen in the past..


Ranunculus ficaria 2012

This image is of the same general area taken on 2 April 2010. In the next few days the cover of lovely golden yellow flowers will be like this over the entire bottomland habitat.  A few flowers are already in bloom. Ranunculus ficaria has rapidly spread from spotty coverage just a few years ago to the recent condition with few open areas left.

Stop by for a brief visit in the next day or so and see a blanket of yellow!

Bottomland Trail Park Map

The trail is blacktop hardened.

NOTE:  There is a public parking lot at the far upper left corner of the  Park map – that is not illustrated. This lot is only about 50 yards from the east end of the Bottomland Trail.

Access to this lot is via the subdivision/residential  streets Tiffany Village Parkway and then Tiffany Village Court. (View Map)