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Upstate: Under the radar — Fig Buttercup
March 18, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
There are plenty of plants we are already aware of that are a problem in South Carolina. It is hard to find a forest edge or fence row without privet and Japanese honeysuckle, and drainage ditches throughout the Piedmont are prime real estate for Bradford pear and mimosa seedlings — not to mention kudzu. But there is a new culprit in our area, and since it is relatively unknown, it is quietly establishing itself in our region’s parks and waterways without many even being aware of its presence.
This newcomer to our flora is Fig Buttercup, also known as Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria), and some of its more unusual characteristics make it especially troublesome as an invasive. The plant has an early and accelerated life cycle, as well as the ability to reproduce in multiple ways, making it hard to eliminate once it is established.
Fig Buttercup has been cultivated in our country for many years, and recently it has begun to aggressively naturalize outside the garden. It already shows up on a number of invasive plant lists for eastern states. Predominantly a problem in the north-eastern section of our country, it is now popping up in places like Smoky Mountain National Park and Lake Conestee Nature Park right here in the Upstate.
Regular observation of known aggressive plants and their timely removal is necessary to winning this war, and early detection is key. Today we have the rare opportunity to get a head start on the eradication of a problem species before it has gained a foothold in our area.
Join us for our March meeting to learn when and where to look for Fig Buttercup, how to recognize it, and what to do if you find it. This plant poses a widespread threat to the Southeast’s riparian ecosystems, but as of now, it is only popping up in localized areas. Together, hopefully, we can stop Fig Buttercup from becoming a long term problem in our state, and that would be something we could all be proud of.
Southern Wesleyan University, Central.
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