Because of the shape of the leaves it is sometimes mistaken for marsh marigold, but the lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is not so dependant on being near water, although it too likes a humid soil. There are many other differences – the petals of the celandine are glossy, they have an oblong shape and there are more of them. The lesser celandine spreads differently from other buttercup family plants: in addition to seeds, bulbils develop in the leaf axils after flowering. At that stage the plant is also poisonous and may harm those who might eat it – for instance domestic birds.
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