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Lesser Celandine

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Not too many leaves of Lesser Celandine should be eaten raw but cooked they are safe.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Lesser Celandine, Spring Messenger, Pilewort
Scientific Name Ranunculus ficaria
Season Start Mar
Season End Jun
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Dark green, shiny and fleshy heart shaped leaves that can have white markings.

Flowers

Yellow slightly daisy like flowers.

Roots

Creamy pale tan shallow roots with nobbly tuberous growths.

Habitat

Woodland floors and as a weed in gardens.

Taste

The leaves and flowers are pleasant if a little bitter, the growths on the roots, which must be cooked, are like potato or sweet chestnut.

Frequency

Common in Spring and early Summer.

Collecting

The flowers and leaves can be picked and used in salads but should not be eaten too often. The roots can be easily dug and the nobbly growths cooked in the ashes of a fire or boiled for at least 15 minutes but these should be picked when ripe just after the flowers drop or the tubers will stay hard and unpalatable.

Medicinal Uses

As one of the common names suggests celandine root was used as a haemarrhoid treatment (Pilewort).
One of the first flowering plants of the season it nearly always appears in the last week of February when the swallows arrive, chelidonia (Celandine) being the Latin for swallow.
The leaves were used to stop scurvy.

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