Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Lesser celandine is an annual herbaceous plant that grows in early spring. It has glossy, dark green, rounded leaves ain a low-growing rosette with both fibrous and tuberously thickened roots. The leaves appear in late winter and die back by early June. Bright yellow buttercup-like flowerbloom in March and April, held above thleaves. Seeds mature by May, but reportedly are rarely formed. Vegetative reproduction is by small underground tubers and by axillary bulblets formed on the stems. Both tubers and bulblets are readily dispersed during flooding events.

The flowers are similar to Buttercups being bright yellow and have the appearance of little stars when reflecting the sunlight. In wet windy weather, the petals close. Celandine has twice the amount of petals as the Buttercup and has heart-shaped glossy leaves.

The roots consist of small white bulbs seemingly not unlike piles! These bulbs, gathered when the flowers begin to wither, were used in an ointment to treat this ailment successfully in Co Meath and other parts of the country. As well as healing piles, a decoction of the root and leaves was used for warts 'wens and tumours' Apart from the early first leaves of the plant that contain Vitamin C it is not safe to eat or take other parts of Lesser Celandine internally. In the past an infusion of the leaves which contain tannins and has an astringent effect was used as a beauty treatment to tighten skin and remove wrinkles.

Lesser celandine is characteristic of moist alluvial soils in forested floodplains. It also invades grassy meadows, roadsides, lawns, and less frequently drier soils of
embankments and open woodlands.
Lesser celandine is aggressive and spreads rapidly once established. Lesser celandine forms near monocultures of extensive acreage in the early spring. Because of its early emergence and aggressive nature, lesser celandine poses a serious threat to indigenous spring ephemerals. It has significantly altered the structure of natural plant communities.
Small infestations can be dug up, taking care to remove all the tubers and bulblets, but for larger populations, digging may create too

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