Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See February, March, April, May
Colour Yellow
Habitat Woodland, Grassland

One of the first wildflowers to bloom, its pretty, golden stars often blanket the ground.

It has rosettes of glossy dark green heart-shaped mottled long-stalked leaves.

Where it grows

Woodland and hedge banks, particularly damp places. Also meadows and stream-sides.

Best time to see

Late February to May.

Cultural info

  • In the Language of Flowers it symbolises "joys to come".

How's it doing?


Did you know?

  • Its the floral equivalent of the swallow: both reappear around the same time and herald the coming of spring. In fact the word 'celandine' comes from the Greek chelidon meaning 'swallow' and it traditionally first blooms on 21st February making it one of the first woodland flowers of the year. This also gave the lesser celandine the name 'spring messenger'.
  • Other local names include brighteye, butter and cheese, frog's foot, gentleman's ca and frills, golden guineas and pilewort since the herb was given for haemorrhoids. This was based on the doctrine of signatures since the knobbly tubers were thought to resemble piles.
  • As a member of the buttercup family, it isn't closely related to the greater celandine (a member of the poppy family).
  • Wordsworth's favourite wild flower wasn't the daffodil - it was lesser celandine. He wrote no less than three poems about it: The Small Celandine, To the Same Flower and To the Small Celandine.

There's a flower that shall be mine, 'Tis the little Celandine.

William Wordsworth, "To the Small Celandine"