Caltha gracilis Hand.-Mazz.
Caltha palustris purpurea Spare & C.E.C.Fisch.
Caltha rubriflora B.L.Burtt & Lauener
A dwarf Caltha found in damp alpine turf in Tibet.
I grow this plant in a pot in a free-draining but humus-rich mix which sits in a saucer of rainwater.
Photograph by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rainbirder/
Caltha sinogracilis is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of basal leaves and flowering stems 4 - 10cm tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.
The whole plant, but especially the older portions, contains the toxic glycoside protoanemonin - this is destroyed by heat[
]. Symptoms of poisoning include a burning sensation in the throat, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, dizziness, fainting, and, in large doses, convulsions. However, the toxicity is of a fairly low order and the plant would usually need to be eaten in quantity in order to cause major symptoms[
The sap can irritate sensitive skin[
E. Asia - China (Xizang, Yunnan), Korea.
Grasslands, by streams; at elevations from 3,200 - 4,100 metres[
|Pollinators||Bees, Beetles, Flies
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Caltha sinogracilis is found in the Alpine zone of southwest China where it experiences frost and snow.
Requires a deep rich slightly acidic soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Suitable for wet soils and shallow water[
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
Young leaves - cooked[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in late summer[
]. Stand the pots in 2 - 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a tray of water in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Division in early spring or autumn[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.