Kingcup (Caltha palustris): Distribution, Characteristics, Chemical composition and Uses

Kingcup Caltha palustris: Distribution, and Characteristics


Caltha palustris L. (Ranunculaceae), often known as Kingcup or Marsh Marigold, grows in the temperate Western Himalayas between 2,600 and 3,300 metres, preferring to grow along streams and damp areas like marshes, ditches, and glacial moraines. The species is a glabrous perennial herb with a strong rhizome, reniform, serrated leaves, terminal bright yellow blooms with many filamentous yellow stamens, and narrow flattened beaked follicles. Its roots and leaves are used to treat gonorrhoea, rheumatoid arthritis, and as an expectorant, laxative, anodyne, antispasmodic, diuretic, expectorant, and rubefacient, as well as to keep maggots out of cattle wounds (Lust 1983, Schofield 1989, Aswal and Mehrotra 1994, Moerman 1998). The shape and size of leaves, flowers, and mature follicles, as well as roots at nodes and the number of petaloid sepals, all show significant morphological variability in this species. Because of these differences, taxonomic experts have divided the Linnean species C. palustris into multiple taxa at the variety, subspecies, and even species levels. This species has 22 variations, 9 subspecies, 7 cultivars, and 1 forma worldwide (Woodell and Kootin-Sanwu 1971, Lord 2006, web-1, web-2). However, only two varieties are known from India that may be distinguished by flower colour: var. alba with white flowers and var. normalis with yellow flowers (Hooker 1872). The species is reported to exhibit intraspecific tetraploid, 2n 32 (Malik and Mary 1970), and hexaploid, 2n 48 (Roy and Sharma 1971, Kurosawa 1971) cytotypes and is chromosomally worked out from Kashmir Himalaya in India. Furthermore, Malik and Mary reported the presence of B-chromosomes in one population (1970). Given the broad range of morphogenetic variety and a paucity of chromosomal data from the Western Himalayas, an attempt is currently being made to investigate the species cytologically from the dry and cold parts of Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu districts.

Marsh Marigold


Caltha palustris can be found in all highlands of the Ukrainian Carpathians. It grows around damp channels and on the borders of ponds, wet meadows, lakes, wetlands, and swamps, as well as along rivers in slow-flowing and stagnant waters. The plant first appeared in gardens in Austria and southern Germany towards the end of the seventeenth century. It has become a prized garden plant among aficionados in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, England, and Holland. It has long been utilised for medical purposes in Ukraine.


1. Caltha palustris is a plant of the Ranunculaceae family, which is a subclass of Ranunculidae.

2. It’s a herbaceous plant that grows up to 50 cm tall and has erect, simple or top branching stems.

3. Petiolate leaves are whole, kidney- or heart-shaped, serrated toothed, dark green, and lustrous.

4. The stem leaves are substantially smaller than the root leaves.

5. Simple perianth, five-petaled corolla, and a few petals. Petals are round or ovoid in shape and golden yellow. Stamens are plentiful and unattached. From 2 to 12 pestles Fruit is a type of aggregate.

6. In April and May, the plant blooms. The plant’s first flowering occurs only in its tenth year of existence. In May and July, leaf fruits with up to ten black glossy seeds fall off after ripening. Seeds and rhizomes are used to spread the plant.

7. The flower has an androgynous appearance. 2n=32 and 56 are the number of chromosomes.


During the blossoming season in the spring, kingcup is gathered. They are dried in dark, well-ventilated spaces, with raw materials being turned over frequently. It can be dried in ovens set to 50–60 degrees Celsius. In the autumn, the roots are gathered, washed, crushed, decayed, and dried in a dryer. 1–2 years on the shelf (in pouches or wooden containers).

Chemical composition.

Caltha palustris contains both primary and secondary synthesis physiologically active chemicals. Protoanemonin, anemonin, tannins (8.1%), and ascorbic acid (37 mg%) are among the alkaloids, saponins, and -lactones found in it. Triterpenoids (palustrolide, caltolide, epicaltolide, 16,17-dihydroxycauronic-19, and hedrogenic acids), steroids (sitosterol), carotenoids (3-epilutein), and coumarins are found in all parts of the plant (scopoletin, umbelliferone). 16 connected phenolic structures have been identified in Caltha palustris grass: phenolic acids – caffeic, chlorogenic, gallic, chicory, isochlorogenic, ferulic; flavonoids – apigenin, apigenin-3- glycoside, luteolin-7-glycoside, k-glycoside; catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, and coumarin; catechin, epicatechin gall Chicory and gallic acids are the most prevalent phenolic acids, while apigenin is the most prominent flavonoid. Trolixanthin, xanthophyll, epoxanthine, and alloxanthine are pigments found in Caltha palustris flowers, whereas fatty oil is found in the seeds (30 per cent).

Alkaloids, lipids, and vitamin C are found in the seeds.

Medicinal uses

1. In folk medicine and homoeopathy, Caltha palustris is employed. Caltha palustris is often used externally for burns, wounds, bruises, rheumatism, neurodermatitis, eczema, and other conditions in Ukrainian traditional medicine.

2. Internally, Caltha palustris grass decoction or infusion is useful for feverish conditions, whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma, metabolic disorders, diathesis, anaemia, scurvy, painful menstruation, and uterine cancer in small dosages.

3. For the treatment of ascites in Tibetan medicine, floral infusions were utilised. A plant is used to treat bronchitis and cough, as well as menstruation disturbances and other conditions, in homoeopathy.

4. Fresh flowering plants are used to make homoeopathic cough syrup.

5. Wound healing treatments include juice extracted from fresh leaves and flower buds. Heals warts, burns, abrasions, and rheumatism.

6. Poultices for the treatment of skin illnesses, wart removal, neurodermatitis, eczema, burns, wounds, abrasions, and rheumatism treatment. Fresh leaves are crushed and cooked before being wrapped in cheesecloth and put in inflamed areas to prepare them.

7. Prostatitis, prostate hyperplasia, orchitis, epididymitis, urethritis, genital herpes, oliguria, hydronephrosis, and cystitis are among conditions that can be treated with it.


The presence of a protoaneminin in a fresh plant causes Caltha palustris toxicity. However, according to the literature, heat treatment destroys them. Fresh juice from the plant’s aerial section, gathered before flowering, can cause skin damage, specifically blisters. Excessive use of Caltha palustris infusions or teas causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and allergic reactions.

The plant is dangerous due to the presence of protoanemonin, but the toxic qualities are removed after drying because protoanemonin is transformed into anemonin. Protoanemonin content in the plant is relatively low when compared to other Ranunculaceae members – 0.26p.g/g fro wt. Protoanemonin is a stress metabolite that protects Ranunculaceae family members from external stimuli, hence its quantity varies. Protoanemonin is a colourless, volatile, viscous oily substance with a pungent odour and a burning taste.


Question: What is the Common Name of the Caltha palustris plant?

 Ans: Kingcup or Marsh Marigold

 Question: What is the Scientific Name of Kingcup or Marsh Marigold?

Ans: Caltha palustris

Question: Which family does Caltha palustris belong to?

Ans: Ranunculaceae

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