, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 225-239

The double-flowered Caltha palustris

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Summary

The double marsh marigold, Caltha palustris ‘Plena’ was introduced to cultivation by Clusius in Vienna from a meadow near Salzburg in the late sixteenth century. The plant entered cultivation in gardens in Austria and in southern Germany. It became a valued garden plant in collections of connaisseurs in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, England, Holland and Flanders. There it was noted by Jan Brueghel I, who painted it in many of his flower paintings. Several artists who worked in Antwerp used the plant as well, probably following Brueghel. Besides ‘Plena’ the cultivar Monstruosa was possibly known in the early seventeenth century. Further development of cultivated forms of Caltha palustris occurred around 1900 and more recently in England from about 1985 onwards. Double marsh marigolds are valued but minor plants in present day horticulture; their days of glory were in early seventeenth century flower painting.