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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 May, 2016

Marsh Marigold: Mary gold



After a long, dark winter there is nothing like bit of bright 'sunshine' to cheer a miserable, cold, wet early April morning. This is when the first marsh-marigolds (Caltha palustris) usually come into flower in our garden pond. 
I usually call these king-cups and they are also commonly knwn as marsh-cups but my reference book calls them marsh-marigold so I will have to change my ways! They are common anywhere by fresh water where the ground is wet so you will see them on wet meadows, river banks, edges of ponds and lakes, even in damp woodland. Each year there are masses of them on the water meadows of Wareham common and you can see hundreds of them from the Wareham by-pass, they are so striking you can see them clearly from the car as you pass.
Marigold is an English name usually associated with members of the daisy family but these are, of course, members of the buttercup family. It seems marigold is a corruption of Mary gold, these flowers traditionally being put in churches at Easter as a tribute to the Virgin Mary. 
Marsh Marigold: Mary gold