Lesser celandine, also known as ‘fig buttercup’ is a member of the buttercup family is a perennial turf weed.
It is very common in roadside verges, ditch banks, woodland and can even find its way into turf. It is one of the first weeds to appear, often appearing as early as February.
During the spring it adds an abundance of colour with its bright yellow flowers, before it disappears again during May.
Once established it is very invasive, as it forms a dense mat of foliage and it is very difficult to remove with a chemical weed killer.
It is a low growing weed that can tolerate low mowing heights. Lesser celandine has a fibrous root system and several root tubers.
The leaves are heart shaped and have a glossy surface.
The bright yellow flowers can be seen between March and May as they often create a sea of colour where this weed is present. Each flower can have between 7 and 12 petals.
Lesser celandine can be found in a range of conditions, but it really thrives in damp conditions.
Hand weeding is possible, taking great care to remove the whole plant and tubers.
Lesser celandine can be be nigh impossible to control using a selective herbicide. Weed killers containing MCPA may have some effect. However it will take several applications to really take effect and as the weed disappears almost as soon as it has appeared, time is very limited.
Another method is to spot treat the weed with glyphosate (Round Up). Glyphosate is a total weed killer and kills everything it comes in contact with. Therefore it would only need to touch the weeds and not the grass, so great care must be taken when using this product on weeds in turf. Glyphosate can be purchased in handy dabber or gel sticks, which is ideal for spot treating weeds.
Recommended herbicides for the control of lesser celandine
Professional products (All operators must be trained and certificated in using and applying any Ministry Approved professional product)
- ICL Enforcer (2,4-D, Dicamba, Mecoprop-p, MCPA)
- Hysward-P (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
- Mascot Greenor (Fluroxpyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
Products available for non-professional use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores and do not require any training or certification for use and application.)
- Weedol Concentrate (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
- Vitax lawn Clear (Clopyralid, 2,4-D, MCPA)
Tips for successful weed control using selective herbicides
- Treat weeds when growth is strong, this is usually in May and June.
- Don’t mow the lawn 3 days prior and 3 days after the treatment, to allow for maximum uptake of the chemical.
- Spray when the leaf/foliage is dry, as this reduces runoff and allows the chemical to stick to the weed.