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Chelidonium majus

Chelidonium majus L.

 

Greater Celandine, Celandine

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderPapaveralesA group that includes buttercups and other poisonous plants
FamilyPapaveraceaePoppy family
GenusChelidoniumFrom Greek chelidon, “swallow,” because it was believed that C. majus flowered when the swallows nest during summer
Speciesmajus“Bigger, larger”

About plant names...

This native of Eurasia was introduced to North America, where it is now widespread.

Plants: Greater celandine reaches 18-24" (45-60 cm) in height, with ribbed stems. Leaves contain an irritating yellow-orange sap.

Leaves: Leaves are up to 8" (20 cm) long and 3" (7.6 cm) wide, compound in groups of 5 to 9, green with a slight bluish tint.

Flowers: About ¾" (1.9 cm) around, with four yellow non-overlapping petals, a stiff green central style, and multiple yellow stamens.

Fruits: Seed capsules look like thin beans, ¾-2½" (1.9-6.3 cm) long, with black seeds.

Sometimes these are confused:

 

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

The sap is bright orange. · 7/17/2013 · Near Nashua River Boat Ramp, Groton, MA
≈ 2 × 1½" (5.1 × 4 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/12/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

 
Stylophorum diphyllum

Ranunculus ficaria
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Chelidonium majus
Common Name

Yellow Wood Poppy

Lesser Celandine

Greater Celandine
Plant Plants reach 12-18" (30-45 cm). Stems and leaves exude a bright yellow-orange sap when cut. Low-growing, 4-14" (10-35 cm) in height. It is a perennial that stores energy in numerous white finger-like tubers. Greater celandine reaches 18-24" (45-60 cm) in height, with ribbed stems. Leaves contain an irritating yellow-orange sap.
Flowers Each flower has four partially overlapping yellow petals, two sepals (which fall away early after flowering), a knobby stigma, and multiple yellow-orange stamens. They appear in groups of one to four, and are 1¼-2" (3.2-5.7 cm) around. Flowers May-June. Up to 1" (2.5 cm) around, with 7-12 glossy yellow petal-like tepals, and 3 sepal-like tepals (confused yet?). They appear as early as February, or, further north, from April-May. About ¾" (1.9 cm) around, with four yellow non-overlapping petals, a stiff green central style, and multiple yellow stamens.
Leaves This plant has basal leaves, as well as a pair of opposite leaves on the stem, both up to 6" (15 cm) × 4" (10 cm). Leaves are divided into 3-5 lobes which in turn are further divided, making them bipinnatifid. Leaf surfaces are dark green and hairless, while leaf undersides are pale as a result of fine hairs. Leaf stems (petioles) are up to 4" (10 cm) long. Thick, heart-shaped (cordate), spirally arranged, ¾-1½" (1.9-3.8 cm), on long stems (petioles). Leaves are sometimes mottled with darker green patches. Up to 8" (20 cm) long and 3" (7.6 cm) wide, compound in groups of 5 to 9, green with a slight bluish tint.
Fruit Bristly blue-green ovoid seed pods ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm). Achenes are spherical, up to ⅜" (1.3 cm) around. Seed capsules look like thin beans, ¾-2½" (1.9-6.3 cm) long, with black seeds.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 4-9

USDA Zones: 4-8
Habitats Dry deciduous woodlands, bases of bluffs, and rocky stream banks. It prefers damp shady areas, and weedy places. It often carpets large areas. Moist or dry woods, thickets, fields, hedgerows, roadsides, railroads
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence     Common

 

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

From Thomé, Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm, Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz., 1885.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Stem juice is toxic and extremely irritating and allergenic. Paralysis, nausea, vomiting, coma, respiratory tract irritation, violent coughing, ulcers, and dyspnoea have been attributed to this plant.[1]. More recently, it has been implicated in liver disease as well.[2]

Medical: Greater celandine has been used for many different medical purposes historically (see footnotes 1 and 2), but I don’t believe any of these uses have been confirmed with research.

Online References:

Chelidonium majus on Ontario Wildflowers

Chelidonium majus at Illinois Wildflowers

Chelidonium majus from all-creatures.org

Chelidonium majus on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Chelidonium majus on CalPhotos

Chelidonium majus at Minnesota Wildflowers

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 6" (14 × 15 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

7/27/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.3 × 10 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/20/2014 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 8" (12 × 19 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 4" (8 × 11 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

2/11/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/12/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

7/17/2009 · Mt. Lebanon St, Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/12/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

4/30/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

1For details, see Plants for a Future

2Henriette’s Herbal Homepage

Chelidonium majus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Jun 2017.

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Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/17/2013 · Gibbet Hill, Groton, MA
≈ 31 × 39" (79 × 98 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/12/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/20/2014 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

4/20/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

7/17/2009 · Mt. Lebanon St, Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 35 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm) ID is uncertain

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/18/2017 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Wildflower Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/12/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

5/2/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Chelidonium majus (Greater Celandine, Celandine)

4/22/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 7 × 6" (17 × 14 cm)

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...