Lesser Celandine

I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.
The Beauty of Weeds

Companion Plantings
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning

Lesser Celandine

Ficaria verna

Images my own.

Lesser Celandine is, l think, a sweet little plant with its bright yellow flowers. For some, it’s a wildflower, others again a weed and others still an older herb. It is a perennial member of the buttercup family and native to the UK.

It is not related to Greater Celandine, a member of the poppy family.
It can be invasive but is not aggressive with other plants. But not all gardeners love its presence. It is a small low blanket covering type of plant regarding its growth style.

It can be found in woodlands in the wild, on moist grounds like the banks of streams and still waters, beneath hedgerows and in ditches, and even in shaded wasteground. I have seen it both as a pest in gardens and a guest in wildlife gardens. As lovely as it can be when included in some garden layouts, it does need to be maintained and managed in case it becomes a problem.

Celandine is a low growing plant that appears on the ground around the end of winter and early spring month of February but can be gone by mid-May. Celandine Day is celebrated on February 21st as it is one of the first few wildflowers to bloom before spring arrives.

Another name for Lesser Celandine is’ pilewort’ because of the apothecary application when treating haemorrhoids.

Due to the early arrival of Celandine so soon after the winter months, it does also offer great value to early pollinators themselves, who have recently emerged from hibernation with the nectar and pollen it provides.

There is a mixture of views concerning including raw Celandine leaves in salads. Many say they are best cooked, and others say a few can be eaten raw. I would lean more towards cooking them because of the potential toxicity that can be found with Protoanemonin—once cooked, however, they can be added to stews. The leaves do have a high vitamin C count.

I hope you enjoyed L is for Lesser Celandine and I’ll see you again soon.

The Autistic Composter

Species Guide Directory

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

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