LESSER CELANDINE

PILEWORT, FOALFOOT, SPRING MESSENGER, GOLDEN GUINEA

Ficaria verna

(Formerly: Ranunculus ficaria)
Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae]  

month8Feb month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8May

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ8
(6-12)
stem
stem8round
 

9th April 2008, Lancaster Canal, Hest Bank. Photo: © RWD
Carpets the ground on the edges of Woods or in Hedgerows.


9th April 2008, Lancaster Canal, Hest Bank. Photo: © RWD
Single Yellow flowers on stalks barely ten inches high.


10th April 2008, River Ribble, Clitheroe. Photo: © RWD
Deep golden-yellow flowers, dark-green cardioid-lobed leaves on long stalks. A hairless plant.


22 April 2005, Shipley, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
Most flowers have eight widely-separated narrow petals.


29th April 2006, Glasson Dock Branch, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
But some flowers have between seven and up to twelve petals. The leaves are glossy, as are the petals on the top surface.


26th March 2005, Brinscal, Chorley. Photo: © RWD
The leaves have prominent veins.


21st April, Seathwaite Valley, Borrowdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Prominently veined leaves outnumber the flowers.


29th April 2006, Glasson Dock Branch, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
Flowers similar to those of Buttercup. An inner row of short narrow ragged yellow strap-shaped anthers surround the central spherical fruit capsule which is covered in projections rather like an ocean mine. The inner parts of the petals on the upper-side are often a deeper shade of yellow, possibly echoing the pattern of greening on the underside.


25th April 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Chorley, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Upper side of petals are shiny like those of Buttercups.


25th April 2015, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Chorley, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The long strap-shaped anthers are wider near the end third, the pollen giving it a ragged appearance.


4th April 2008, Dalegarth, Eskdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flowers are spherical. Freshly opened ones greenish at first on the outerside of the petals.


10th May 2013, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The petals are reddish-orange on the outside especially nearing the apex. Sepals, of which there are 4?, are a similar green to the flower stalk and cupped.


10th May 2013, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
With yellow anthers.


10th May 2013, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are green and orb-like.


Easily confused with : Marsh Marigold but Marsh Marigold has less shiny leaves which clasp and almost encirle the flowering stem, unlike Lesser Celandine where the leaves are heart-shaped and on stalks. The stems of Marsh Marigold are brownish. The petals of Lesser Celandine are narrower. Although Lesser Celandine also has a variable number of petals, but they are greater in number (7-12) as opposed to only 5-8 petals for Marsh Marigold.

Un-related to : Greater Celandine [a plant with similar name]. Greater Celandine belongs to the Poppy Family, whereas Lesser Celandine to the Buttercup Family. Their only other commonality is the colour of the flower, an orange-juice yellow colour; Greater Celandine has half the number of petals than does Lesser Celandine with 8.

Not to be semantically confused with Celandine Saxifrage (Saxifraga cymbalaria) [a flower belonging to a differing family].

There are four sub-species:

  • Ficaria verna subsp. chrysocephalus (Lesser Celandine)
  • Ficaria verna subsp. ficariiformis (Lesser Celandine)
  • Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Celandine)
  • Ficaria verna subsp. verna (Bulbiferous Celandine)
The first two have large flowers, up to 6cm across, but are relatively rare occurring in but few hectads, but with the ssp. chrysocephalus having erect stems and the ssp. ficariiformis having procumbent stems.

The second two are much more ubiquitous occurring with several exceptions mostly throughout the UK and have smaller flowers, up to 4cm across, with bulbils after flowering on both the Bulbiferous Celandine and the ssp. ficariiformis).

Probably both of the latter two forms are represented here.

Lesser Celandine is one of the first plants to flower in spring. The year 2008 was a very good year for it. The flowers are solitary, nominally 8-petalled and shiny yellow. The yellow sometimes giving way to whiteness, especially in very sunny weather. The leaves are also shiny and dark-green, small and variously kidney-shaped.

One of its common names is Pilewort, for it was used for piles, as well as for scurvy, for it must contain a lot of vitamin-C.


  Ficaria verna  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Ranunculaceae  

Distribution
family8buttercup family8Ranunculaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8ficaria
Ficaria
(Lesser Celandine)

LESSER CELANDINE

PILEWORT, FOALFOOT, SPRING MESSENGER, GOLDEN GUINEA

Ficaria verna

(Formerly: Ranunculus ficaria)
Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae]  

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