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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Alien Plant Invader: Lesser Celandine

Learn how to spot and remove this troublesome invasive plant

Lesser CelandineThis friendly looking plant is popping up in lawns and parking strips across Portland, but don't be deceived!

It’s called lesser celandine. Like a lot of invasive plants, it is able to out-compete native plants. We need your help in the battle against invasives like this one.

Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) emerges earlier in the spring than many native plants, allowing it to overtake areas quickly. This advantage allows lesser celandine to form dense patches displacing native plants, destroying wildlife habitat and ruining lawns. Diverse native plants that provide nectar and pollen for pollinating insects and birds lose out. Lesser celandine also dies back in the spring, which leaves hillsides and stream banks vulnerable to erosion that pollutes our rivers and streams. 

Lesser celandine grows above-ground from November to April, and flowers from late winter to early spring. The leaves are dark green with silvery markings, shiny, succulent, and kidney- or heart-shaped. The bright yellow flowers are often confused with the look-a-like marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), which is a native plant not known to occur in Portland metro region. You can identify lesser celandine because of the three light green sepals behind its petals. Lesser celandine produces finger-like tubers that form underground and tiny bulblets under the leaves. The tubers, bulblets and seeds can all spread rapidly.

Removing this plant is tricky. All parts of the plant as well as any soil near the plant must be placed in a bag and thrown in the trash. Tubers and bulblets must be dug up and disposed. Due to this time consuming process, manual control (digging) is only recommended for small patches (less than six feet wide) and the site must be re-checked annually.  

Do not compost lesser celandine or try to save surrounding soil.  We encourage land owners to contact Environmental Services with any additional questions. Find more information on City of Portland’s page about lesser celandine and from the Plant Conservation Alliance

Lesser Celandine Roots


Invasive species affect us all. They damage our forests, our streams and rivers, and our property. Nationwide, damages associated with invasive species are estimated to be $120 billion each year. In Oregon, the control of invasive weeds and the cost of the damages they create amounts to about $125 million each year. We know that it costs a lot less to control new invasive plants before they become infestations, but we need everyone’s help. Read more here about the problems caused by invasive species and why BES is particularly concerned about their impact on water quality.




Check out our previous posts on Alien Plant Invaders:

Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 20th Annual Watershed Wide Volunteer Restoration Event

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The event will span ten locations and takes place Saturday, March 3rd, from 9 a.m. to Noon

Salmon inspired the Johnson Creek Watershed Wide event 20 years ago, and now you can be a part of this grassroots habitat restoration movement, too. Our partners need 200 more volunteers, so gather your group and join us!

Together volunteers will restore habitat and water quality at TEN work party events throughout Johnson Creek Watershed. Take part in the action to help build a healthier watershed for your human and animal neighbors by planting native trees, mulching and removing invasive species! And we’re doing all of this… wearing COSTUMES! That’s right – we’re going big this year and we can’t wait to see the crazy, wild outfits you’ll be wearing. So, here are the details…

What: Plant, dig, mulch, weed, and look fabulous

When: Saturday, March 3rd 2018, 8:45am -12pm

Where: 10 locations across the watershed

Why: To build a healthier watershed by planting native trees, fighting invasive species, and connecting people to their environment

This is a family-friendly event. Everyone and all experience levels are welcome. Bring a team of coworkers, friends, or family members. We will provide tools, snacks, and tons of FUN!

Thank you pizza parties and costume contests in 2 locations (12:30-1:30.)

Register HERE

**A big thanks to all the sponsors and partners who work with Johnson Creek Watershed Council to make this happen: The Mintkeski Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Clackamas County's Water Environment Services, Portland Parks and Recreation, City of Gresham, Friends of Trees, Crystal Springs Partnership, Friends of Tideman Johnson, Friends of Powell Butte, Freeway Lands, Overland Park Coalition.**

Questions? Call Volunteer Coordinator Courtney at 503-652-7477 ext 101

Be a Stormwater Star! Workshops Coming up in February, March, and April

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The annual Stormwater Stars workshop series offers free stormwater management instruction and resources to Portland-area residents

Learn to manage the rain that falls around your home, work with your fellow community members, and improve local water quality!

The annual Stormwater Stars workshop series offers free stormwater management instruction and resources to Portland-area residents, practicing skills such as native plant landscaping, erosion control, runoff water reduction, soil amendment/restoration, installation of permeable pathways, sod removal and more. 2018 workshop dates: Feb 24, March 10, March 18, April 8.

Sign up today at or contact Lorena O'Neill at for more information. 

Tryon Creek Watershed Wide Event: sign up now for Feb. 10

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Join the Tryon Creek Watershed Council on Saturday February 10th for their biggest volunteer day of the year.

Join the Tryon Creek Watershed Council and other partners for the biggest volunteer day in the Tryon Creek watershed!

This is going to be a fun and rewarding day of restoration work and celebration in the Tryon Creek Watershed on February 10th from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Meet at Riverdale High School and then travel to one of the work sites.

Volunteers will work at various project sites throughout the watershed. Projects will include invasive species removal and some possible native plantings. Raffle prizes will be handed out before the work begins, so be sure to register to get your name entered. Registration here.

Please come dressed to work outside - wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and weather-appropriate clothing and bring a water bottle (we will work rain or shine). Gloves, tools, and food will be provided. Each site will have a crew leader to help your group at your designated site.

Schedule for the Day

9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Volunteer Check-In at Riverdale High School (Coffee & breakfast snacks provided) and Raffle!

9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Welcome & announcements, carpool/walk to project sites with group, work at designated project site

12:30 p.m. -1:00 p.m. - Cleanup, sendoffs, and goodbyes!

Questions? Please contact the Tryon Creek Watershed Council Volunteer Coordinator, Patrick at

Partners in this great community event include the Tryon Creek Watershed Council, the SW Watershed Resource Center, the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Backyard Habitat and many committed community members. 

Register here, and see you on the 10th!

Free Grant Application Workshops for Community Watershed Stewardship Program

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Two upcoming workshops will take place January 7th and January 20th

Do you have an idea for a Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grant project? Have you started the application paperwork, but don’t know what to write? Our friendly and helpful Student Coordinator is here to help you, and will be holding community workshops where you can get answers to your questions and information about how to make your grant as competitive as possible.

CWSP in action: volunteers from Depave remove pavement at St Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Church to build a rain garden. Learn more here:

The deadline for submitting applications to the Community Watershed Stewardship (CWSP) grants is approaching fast. Pre-applications submitted by February 2nd will be reviewed and may be eligible for up to $10,000 to help Portlanders make improvements in their neighborhoods and communities, while also improving the health of our watersheds. You can learn all about CWSP here.

CWSP has two upcoming grant workshops that are fun, free and open to the public. Topics will include the grant selection process, criteria used for scoring applications and tips for giving your grant proposal its best chance at success. Successful grant proposals will promote equity and build community partnerships, and we can help you develop your ideas so they are reviewed competitively. Bring your friends, family, creativity, ideas and your love for our watersheds; we will provide everything else! Refreshments will be provided, free of charge.

The dates, times and locations for the two upcoming January workshops are: 

  • Sunday, January 7th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Woodstock Library, located at 6008 SE 49th Ave, Portland OR 97206
  • Saturday, January 20th from 12:45 to 1:45 pm at the Holgate Library, located at 7905 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland, OR 97206

Questions about CWSP and the grant writing workshops can be sent to CWSP Grants Coordinator, B Castra Nemici,  at or by phone at 503-823-7917.