Trollius laxus (Globe Flower)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Subalpine. Wetlands, openings, meadows. Spring, summer.
Globe Flowers give us practice in seeing things for what they really are. You stand in an extensive patch of Marsh Marigolds, Psychrophila leptosepala and after gazing at them in awe, you become aware that some of them do not look quite like Marsh Marigolds. That’s because they aren’t. A few Globe Flowers often grow in Marsh Marigold patches. Globe Flower’s leaves are palmate and cut deeply, the five flower petals (versus seven or eight of Marsh Marigold) are significantly broader and more rounded than those of Marsh Marigold’s, the flower stalk is taller, and the numerous yellow stamens give the flower centers a stronger yellow cast. Still the two are such close cousins and grow so intermixed that they continually fool us.
Plants flower when only four or five inches tall and the flower stalk elongates, often reaching well over twelve inches.
Linnaeus named this genus in 1753. Parry made the first collection of this species and Asa Gray named the species Trollius laxus variety albiflorus in 1862; Rydberg renamed it Trollius albiflorus in 1900.
Most botanists assign this species to Ranunculaceae, not Helleboraceae