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Lesser Celandine

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Lesser Celandine should not 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.


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


Yellow slightly daisy like flowers.


Creamy pale tan shallow roots with nobbly tuberous growths.


Woodland floors and as a weed in gardens.


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


Common in Spring and early Summer.


All parts of this plant should be well cooked befroe consumption. The roots can be easily dug and the nobbly growths cooked in the ashes of a fire or boiled for at least 25 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.


3 comments for Lesser Celandine

  1. Andy Hawksworth says:

    Is there any plants that this can be confused with?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      With is variegated heart shaped leaves, daisy like but yellow flowers and flask like tubers it would be hard to confuse with anything else. Greater Celandine is a poisonous plant but in a different family with completely different leaves.

  2. H J Pawsey says:

    The flowers stay closed until almost twelve o’clock, even on a bright sunny day.

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