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15 messages
18/04/2013 at 09:40

Last year, a clump of leaves appeared in a bare part of my garden that I plan to grass. By the time I dug it up, the largest leaves were about 8" wide. I noticed that the roots were fleshy, brittle and pure white (a sense of foreboding formed in the back of my mind). I hoped it was a vegetable seed that had found its way into my garden.

This year, small groups of these leaves, only a couple of inches wide at the moment are springing up over an area of 10 square metres. Needless to say, the roots are all over the place

Can anyone identify it please?


18/04/2013 at 09:43


Does the area flood?

I think it is the weed- related to cellandine/ buttercup- will get yellow flowers- highly invasive- usually left by flood waters- I have plenty!   You need to did up all the root- seems to be a small tuber with wet brittle roots- is this correct?

the cullivated version is the marsh marigold I believe.

18/04/2013 at 10:31

Hi dizzylizzy

Thanks for your reply.We are on top of sandstone hills, 5 miles from centre of Nottingham, so I feel confident in stating that floods are not a problem. The roots are certainly soft and brittle, not sure about the tuber, though. I'm off to dig one up and check. After that, I'll be on my hands and knees with my Roundup gel applicator.

18/04/2013 at 12:05

That looks familiar and will come to me eventually. Marsh marigolds don't spread underground they make long stems which root down and spread that way. 

Whatever it is, it's shouting INVASIVE. Let it grow some more before you get the glyphosate out, the more leaf there is to treat the better.

18/04/2013 at 16:31

Looks like Arum maculatum, or possibly Arum italicum.

18/04/2013 at 16:58

I know those very well, they have corms that multiply and they seed but they don't have fleshy brittle roots.

Looks a bit like coltsfoot but would have expected the yellow flowers before the leaves. Mine have flowered but leaves are barely showing.

18/04/2013 at 17:01

Or butterbur. It's one of those types of plants and you don't want it unless you're running a large wild garden.

18/04/2013 at 17:21

Just spotted 2 flowers poking out the soil, each one several inches away from the nearest leaf cluster. When it was still connected, the flower was more open and looking a bit like a dandelion




18/04/2013 at 18:04

Thanks to dizzylizzy, Joe_the_Gardener and nutcutlet for your suggestions and help. As suggested by nutcutlet, I'm pretty sure that the plant is Coltsfoot. I shall persevere with the Roundup.

For anyone with the same problem, but wanting an organic solution, there is advice and info at


18/04/2013 at 21:23

That pic is coltsfoot for sure. Got plenty of that but oK where it is.

18/04/2013 at 21:39

Coltsfoot, named for the shape of it's young leaves 

18/04/2013 at 22:27

I have been eyeing roadside patches of what I thought was 'this'  - superficially similar leaves, but larger, to put in my wild patch.  It was only when I  recently found some Tussilago/Colt'sfoot in carpark gravel, flowering pristinely and yellowly in the first spring sunshine - a few roots have subsequently taken, leaves appeared - that I realised I had been conflating it with the larger relation, Petasites (Butterbur group)


which has larger leaves and mauve flowers


Silly me, but Tussilago will do until I find a rhizome or two of Petasites.

18/04/2013 at 22:30

I think one or the other will do for me. I'd like to have some garden left for other plants

18/04/2013 at 23:07

sensible you - I am sure it is reversible if I suffer adverse effects.


19/04/2013 at 06:28

I love butterbur - there was a big bank of it growing wild near the village school I attended as a child 

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