Information on Lesser Celandine

Common Name: Lesser Celandine
Scientific Name: Ficaria verna
Irish Name: Grán arcáin
Family Group: Ranunculaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Lesser Celandine is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


One of the first flowers to raise its head in the late winter is this hairless perennial plant. With its shiny, narrow yellow 8-12 petalled flowers (20-30mm across), it blooms in woods, by rivers, in hedge-banks and roadsides between February and May.  From a carpet of fleshy, dark-green, heart-shaped leaves which in their own right deserve a mention, these starry, glossy flowers open in sunshine, closing up in overcast conditions and at night.  Nectar seeking insects in early spring help its pollination, although it also spreads by the fall of tiny little tubers from its leaf axils in early summer. This is one of our native plants and it belongs to the family Ranunculaceae

I first found this plant growing along a stream in Dundrum, Co Dublin in the '50's and photographed it near Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2005. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please record your sighting for the 2010 wildflower mapping survey at http://www.biology.ie/home.php?m=wildflowers 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Celandine, Lesser
Celandine, Lesser

'There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, at the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!'

From The Small Celandine      William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Perhaps not quite so poetic, this wildflower was also known as 'Pilewort' as its use was thought to be beneficial in the treatment of haemorrhoids.  It was also known as 'Scurvywort' for the use of its Vitamin C containing leaves.