Hostname: page-component-6b989bf9dc-llglr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-14T12:52:10.738Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Early-Season Treatment of Fig Buttercup (Ranunculus ficaria)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2017

Mark N. Frey*
Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison and Quantitative Ecologist, National Park Service, 4598 MacArthur Boulevard, NW, Washington, DC 20007
John Paul Schmit
Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison and Quantitative Ecologist, National Park Service, 4598 MacArthur Boulevard, NW, Washington, DC 20007
*Corresponding author’s E-mail:


Fig buttercup is a perennial herb native to Europe, temperate Asia, and northern Africa. In eastern North America, fig buttercup competes with native spring ephemerals, complicating control techniques. If chemical control could be shifted earlier in the year, the potential to negatively impact spring ephemerals would be reduced. We tested glyphosate applications on fig buttercup in northern Virginia under three early phenological phases (preflowering, early flowering, and 50% flowering) to assess the effectiveness of early-season treatment. Treating when approximately half of the plants in the population were in flower resulted in a 95% decline in fig buttercup. Treating when the first flower in the population had emerged resulted in a 90% decline. No later phenological phases were treated. Control of fig buttercup led to an increase in cover of Japanese stiltgrass, an invasive grass.

Research and Education
© Weed Science Society of America, 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Associate Editor for this paper: Stephen F. Enloe, University of Florida


Literature Cited

Axtell, AE, DiTommaso, A, Post, AR (2010) Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria): a threat to woodland habitats in the northern United States and southern Canada. Invasive Plant Sci and Manag 3:190196 Google Scholar
Bates, D, Maechler, M, Bolker, B, Walker, S (2015) Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. J Stat Softw 67:148 Google Scholar
Bram, MR, McNair, JN (2004) Seed germinability and its seasonal onset of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum ). Weed Sci 52:759767 Google Scholar
Brewer, R (1980) A half-century of changes in the herb layer of a climax deciduous forest in Michigan. J Ecol 68:823832 Google Scholar
Bukun, B (2004) Critical periods for weed control in cotton in Turkey. Weed Res 44:404412 Google Scholar
Cipollini, K, Bohrer, M (2016) Comparison of allelopathic effects of five invasive species on two native species. J Torrey Bot Soc 143:427436 Google Scholar
Cipollini, K, Titus, K, Wagner, C (2012) Allelopathic effects of invasive species (Alliaria petiolata, Lonicera maackii, Ranunculus ficaria) in the Midwestern United States. Allelopathy J 29:6375 Google Scholar
Cipollini, KA, Flint, WN (2013) Comparing allelopathic effects of root and leaf extracts of invasive Alliaria petiolata, Lonicera maackii and Ranunculus ficaria on germination of three native woodland plants. Ohio J Sci 112:3743 Google Scholar
Cipollini, KA, Schradin, KD (2011) Guilty in the court of public opinion: testing presumptive impacts and allelopathic potential of Ranunculus ficaria . Am Midl Nat 166:6374 Google Scholar
Cote, M (2011) President’s Message: INVASIVE ALERT! New Leaf 30:12 Google Scholar
Dale, TM, Renner, KA (2005) Timing of postemergence micro-rate applications based on growing degree days in sugar beet. J Sugar Beet Res 42:87--101 Google Scholar
Del Fabbro, C, Güsewell, S, Prati, D (2014) Allelopathic effects of three plant invaders on germination of native species: a field study. Biol Invasions 16:10351042 Google Scholar
De Roo, AC (2016) Determining the Emergence Timing, Morphological Characteristics, and Species Composition of Galium Populations in Western Canada. Ph.D dissertation. Saskatoon, SK: University of Saskatchewan. 108 pGoogle Scholar
Devine, MD, Bandeen, JD (1983) Fate of glyphosate in Agropyron repens growing under low temperature conditions. Weed Res 23:69--75 Google Scholar
Dow AgroSciences (2008) Accord® Concentrate Herbicide product label. Dow AgroSciences Label D02-145-004. Indianapolis, IN. 17 pGoogle Scholar
Frey, MN, Herms, CP, Cardina, J (2007) Cold weather application of glyphosate for garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Control. Weed Technol 21:656660 Google Scholar
Gilliam, FS (2007) The ecological significance of the herbaceous layer in temperate forest ecosystems. Bioscience 57:845858 Google Scholar
Gleason, HA, Cronquist, A (1991) Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd edn. Bronx, NY: New York Botanical Garden. 910 pGoogle Scholar
[GCW] Global Compendium of Weeds (2016) Ranunculus ficaria (Ranunculaceae). Accessed: June 27, 2016Google Scholar
Hammerschlag, R, Salmons, S, Kraft, C, Paul, M, Aatfield, J (2000) Ecology and Management of Ranunculus ficaria in ROCR—First Year Annual Report. Laurel, MD: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Report. 6 pGoogle Scholar
Hammerschlag, R, Salmons, S, Kraft, C, Paul, M, Aatfield, J (2001) Ecology and Management of Ranunculus ficaria in ROCR—Second Year Annual Report. Laurel, MD: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Report. 4 pGoogle Scholar
Hammerschlag, R, Salmons, S, Kraft, C, Paul, M, Aatfield, J (2002) Ecology and Management of Ranunculus ficaria in Rock Creek Park—Final Report 2000–2002. Laurel, MD: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Report. 5 pGoogle Scholar
Hasty, RF, Sprague, CL, Hager, AG (2004) Weed control with fall and early-preplant herbicide applications in no-till soybean 1. Weed Technol 18:887892 Google Scholar
Hejda, M, Pyšek, P, Jarošík, V (2009) Impact of invasive plants on the species richness, diversity and composition of invaded communities. J Ecol 97:393403 Google Scholar
Hunter, AF, Lechowicz, MJ (1992) Predicting the timing of budburst in temperate trees. J Appl Ecol 29:597604 Google Scholar
Johnson, PCD (2014) Extension of Nakagawa & Schielzeth’s R2 GLMM to random slopes models. Methods Ecol Evol 5:944946 Google Scholar
Kellerman, WA (1899) The Fourth State Catalogue of Ohio Plants: Consisting of a Serially Numbered Systematic Check-list of the Pteridophytes and Spermatophytes (No. 1). Columbus: Ohio State University. 65 pGoogle Scholar
Kim, HJ, Jung, JB, Sung, JH, Han, AR, Park, PS (2015) Flowering phenology and the growth of three native Anemone species in a montane deciduous forest on Mt. Joongwang, Korea. Hortic Environ Biote 56:849857 Google Scholar
Kimball, SL, Bennett, BD, Salisbury, FB (1973) The growth and development of montane species at near‐freezing temperatures. Ecology 54:168173 Google Scholar
Lee, MR, Tu, C, Chen, X, Hu, S (2014) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi enhance P uptake and alter plant morphology in the invasive plant Microstegium vimineum . Biol Invasions 16:10831093 Google Scholar
Lefcheck, JS (2015) piecewiseSEM: piecewise structural equation modeling in R for ecology, evolution, and systematics. Methods Ecol Evol 7:573579 Google Scholar
Levine, JM, Vila, M, Antonio, CM, Dukes, JS, Grigulis, K, Lavorel, S (2003) Mechanisms underlying the impacts of exotic plant invasions. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 270:775781 Google Scholar
Loux, MM, Dobbels, AF (2001) Managing common chickweed and purple deadnettle with fall and early-spring herbicide treatments. Page 31 in Proceedings of the North Central Weed Science Society 56. Champaign, IL: North Central Weed Science SocietyGoogle Scholar
Marlow, JK, Beacham, JL, Stringer, WC (2014) Under the radar? Ficaria verna quietly naturalizing in the Southeast. Accessed: January 4, 2017Google Scholar
Masters, JA (2014) Invasive Plants as Drivers and Passengers of Community Change in a Disturbed Urban Forest. Ph.D dissertation. Louisville, KY: University of Louisville. 107 pGoogle Scholar
Masters, JA, Emery, SM (2016) Do multiple mechanisms drive the dominance of an invasive plant (Ranunculus ficaria, Ranunculaceae) along an urban stream? J Torrey Bot Soc 143:359366 Google Scholar
McLachlan, S, Bazely, D (2001) Recovery patterns of understory herbs and their use as indicators of deciduous forest regeneration. Conserv Biol 15:98110 Google Scholar
McMaster, GS, Wilhelm, WW (1997) Growing degree-days: one equation, two interpretations. Agr For Meteorol 87:291300 Google Scholar
Morris, C, Morris, LR, Surface, C (2016) Spring glyphosate application for selective control of downy brome (Bromus tectorum L.) on Great Basin rangelands. Weed Technol 30:297302 Google Scholar
Muller, RN (1978) The phenology, growth and ecosystem dynamics of Erythronium americanum in the northern hardwood forest. Ecol Monogr 48:120 Google Scholar
Nakagawa, S, Schielzeth, S (2013) A general and simple method for obtaining R2 from generalized linear mixed-effects models. Methods Ecol Evol 4:133142 Google Scholar
[NOAA] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2016) NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Accessed: June 27, 2016Google Scholar
Neal, JC, Skroch, WA, Monaco, TJ (1986) Effects of plant growth stage on glyphosate absorption and transport in ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum) and blue pacific juniper (Juniperus conferta). Weed Sci 34:115121 Google Scholar
Pearson, DE, Ortega, YK, Runyon, JB, Butler, JL (2016) Secondary invasion: the bane of weed management. Biol Conserv 197:817 Google Scholar
Post, AR, Krings, A, Wall, WA, Neal, JC (2009) Introduced lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria, Ranunculaceae) and its putative subspecies in the United States: a morphometric analysis. J Bot Res Inst Texas 3:193209 Google Scholar
Powell, KI, Chase, JM, Knight, TM (2011) A synthesis of plant invasion effects on biodiversity across spatial scales. Am J Bot 98:539548 Google Scholar
R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Accessed May 18, 2016Google Scholar
Reddy, KN (2000) Factors affecting toxicity, absorption, and translocation of glyphosate in redvine (Brunnichia ovata) 1. Weed Technol 14:457462 Google Scholar
Rejmánek, M (2013) Extended leaf phenology: a secret of successful invaders? J Veg Sci 24:975976 Google Scholar
Schuster, C (2013) Weed of the Week—Lesser Celandine. University of Maryland Extension. Accessed: September 28, 2016Google Scholar
Sell, PD (1994) Ranunculus ficaria L. sensu lato. Watsonia 20:4145 Google Scholar
Sparks, TH, Jeffree, EP, Jeffree, CE (2000) An examination of the relationship between flowering times and temperature at the national scale using long-term phenological records from the UK. Int J Biometeorol 44:8287 Google Scholar
Swearingen, J, Reshetiloff, K, Slattery, B, Zwicker, S (2010) Plant invaders of mid-Atlantic natural areas. Washington, DC: National Parks Services and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Pp 4445 Google Scholar
Taverna, K, Peet, RK, Phillips, LC (2005) Long‐term change in ground‐layer vegetation of deciduous forests of the North Carolina Piedmont, USA. J Ecol 93:202213 Google Scholar
Taylor, K, Markham, B (1978) Biological flora of the British Isles: Ranunculus ficaria L. (Ficaria verna Huds.; F. ranunculoides Moench). J Ecol 66:10111031 Google Scholar
University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health (2017) EDDMapS (Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System). Accessed: January 10, 2017Google Scholar
[USDA, ARS] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2017) National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. Accessed: January 18, 2017Google Scholar
[USDA, NRCS] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (2016) The PLANTS Database National Plant Data Team. Greensboro, NC. Accessed: September 28, 2016Google Scholar
Vila, M, Weiner, J (2004) Are invasive plant species better competitors than native plant species? Evidence from pair‐wise experiments. Oikos 105:229238 Google Scholar
Wang, JY (1960) A critique of the heat unit approach to plant response studies. Ecology 41:785790 Google Scholar
Warton, DI, Hui, FKC (2011) The arcsine is asinine: the analysis of proportions in ecology. Ecology 92:310 Google Scholar
Willoughby, I (1996) Dormant season application of broad spectrum herbicides in forestry. Asp Appl Biol 44:5562 Google Scholar
Wilson, RG (1997) Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) control in established alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Weed Technol 11:277282 Google Scholar