The fig buttercup, also known as lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), is a regulated pest that has become more aggressive over recent years. It is commonly bought and sold in the North and Southeast for its bright yellow flowers and deep green leaves. Until recently, it was not known to be a threat to the local ecosystems; however, wetlands and other moist areas allow this plant to thrive and spread rapidly. Fig buttercup also propagates through root cuttings, seeds, and small bulbs that help it spread and create dense clusters of flowers. Due to the density of the plants, other native species are choked out and those that are not must compete for the resources available.
Due to the visual similarity of one a native plant, the Marsh Marigold, removal of the flower by anyone other than a professional is not recommended. Small patches can be removed by hand if extreme care is taken to remove all tubers and bulbs. Larger patches should be treated with a herbicide that is safe for the surrounding environment. Treatment may be needed for up to two years to fully remove the infestation.
If you suspect you have found fig buttercup, contact Clemson-DPI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-646-2140. In the meantime, avoid disturbing the area to prevent further spread and inform others not to buy this plant.