Dell Sherk wrote: "I think of it as the golden star shaped flower that grows in Lothlorien." And you probably think baby Orcs are cute, especially with a frilly bonnet of fresh Hobbit caul, don't you? Most of us don't garden in Lothlorien. In any case, Ranunculus ficaria is something I would expect to have come from Mordor, not Lothlorien. Ranunculus ficaria plants are the Uruk-Hai of the plant world. Those of you nursing "cute" patches of it are, and here I'll switch metaphors, tending a time bomb. It's not simply a matter of esthetics. I'm not at all weed phobic: when the annual green and yellow tsunami overwhelms my garden, I used to enjoy it but no longer. There seems to be evidence that Ranunculus ficaria is allelopathic. That means it kills other kinds of plants around it. When the lovely green mat deliquesces sometime in late May, only the strongest plants touched by the slimy blanket survive. Even established and otherwise robust herbaceous plants will show damaged foliage where the dying lesser celandine foliage has touched them - it can mildly simulate the damage of chemical burns or actual fire scorching. If you are trying to establish something from seed in an area where this plant grows, it will be an uphill battle. It's a particular threat to bulb gardens because bulbs are on about the same growth schedule. When the lesser celandine mat dies down, so are many bulbs dying down. As bulb gardeners, we're accustomed to the bare patch which results. And chances are, we are not thinking about what's going on underground - or why the abundant seed of our favorites which is self sown does not seem to be resulting in broad drifts of those favorites. This will probably be the plant which drives me to use an herbicide. Because the surfactants in most herbicides kill amphibians, I have so-far eschewed the herbicide route. But I'm weakening. This plant is definitely a pain in the nether regions - and that as much as its appearance no doubt accounts for its old name pilewort. Jim McKenney Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone, sadly prime habitat for Ranunculus ficaria.