Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Celandine, Greater Celandine
Chelidonium majus

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chelidonium (kel-ee-DON-ee-um) (Info)
Species: majus (MAY-jus) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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4 positives
5 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A persistent weed here, it didn't quite make the prohibited "invasive exotic" list in Massachusetts. I wonder how many years I'll have to keep weeding it out before I start to exhaust the seed bank.

Our native wood poppy Stylophorum diphyllum (also confusingly called Celandine-poppy) looks very similar but has much showier flowers. It also seeds about a bit but isn't weedy.

Neutral andrjsh On Apr 18, 2013, andrjsh from Portland, OR wrote:

I am looking for this plant for my garden. They stopped selling it in local nurseries because of the toxic alkaloids in the juice. If anyone has extras or seeds, let me know.

Positive aprilkaren On Jul 14, 2012, aprilkaren from Nineveh, IN wrote:

I am in zone 5 and have tried to grow this plant without success. All of you who have so many and do not like it, would you be willing to send me one or some seed.I buy the extract form to treat skin cancer. Have used it for years. It has always cleared up the spots. Thanks.

Negative gardener_Julie On May 29, 2010, gardener_Julie from Waterloo
Canada wrote:

This starts as one pretty little plant - but ants are attracted to it's seeds & carry them along. ONE of these beasts popped up 2 years ago - I pulled it & threw it in our composter...BIG mistake! Each year it multiplies like crazy - I've just finished pulling a 10x50 area full of Greater Celandine. I've also just clued in that it is probably what causes my skin on my hands & arms to fester & itch - so will wear cloves & long pants & sleeves next year.
I came on here looking for suggestions as to how to kill it (prefer not to use chemicals). I pull & dig the roots each year, but it doesn't work. They are growing in shaded area where our grass won't grow. Is there something I can add to the soil to deter its growth?
The orange sap stains everything & is hard to wash off of hands & won't come out of clothes.

Negative flowers4birds On May 23, 2010, flowers4birds from Chilton, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I saw this plant blooming at a friend's house and thought it was a pretty wildflower, so I planted some seeds. Big Mistake! It is an alien invasive and is taking over my Wisconsin woodland. I now have thousands of them.

The stuff grows hip-deep in moist, shady soil and smothers all the other wildflowers by excuding light from them. Every seed grows, and they continue to sprout for years. Now I'm spending dozens of beautiful May days pulling the plants instead of enjoying my garden. I cannot get rid of it. It just keeps on spreading. They come up under all my bushes and are very difficult to reach. The bright orange juice bleeds copiously from this brittle plant and it stains everything it touches. The stains dry to a dirty dark gray and do not wash out. It will ruin whatever clothing you wear while weeding and stain your hands unless you wear gloves.

Do not compost it after it starts to bloom. The plant will continue to grow and bloom and ripen seeds ever after it is pulled. You have to chop the flowers, buds and seed pods off and dispose of them in a land fill, or burn them. A torch weeder will scorch and kill the tiny seedlings where they are growing, but you must do this after a rain and be careful not to set the woods on fire. Roundup is also effective, but kills any remaining wildflowers still alive.

My township does not allow landfilling garden debris, so I must either burn it, or stuff it into black trash bags, seal the bags, set them in the hot sun and bake them to death for a few weeks. Any ripe seeds will still grow when discarded. Another way is to put them into a barrel of water totally submerged, and let them rot. If there were no ripe seeds, you can use the sludge for fertilizer. This brittle plant tends to break off at the roots which simply send up more shoots and bloom again, so you have to dig it out.

It is a spring-blooming perrenial that does not usually bloom the first yer, but there are exceptions, and a few will bloom at any season..

its larger relaitve, the woodland poppy is much more beautiful and not weedy in my garden.

Neutral rockgardner On Nov 24, 2009, rockgardner from Billerica, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I'm not concerned by this plant, it's a bit invasive but they're so easy to pull up if it invades your space. A much better looking "weed" than most. I have a portion of my property that I let grow wild (more or less) and this plant stands out over most others growing there because it stays a rich green well after everything else has died back or grown very ugly. Plus it has such a long blooming period. May not be something you want in your rock garden, but there are much worse things growing wild out there.

Negative Malus2006 On Mar 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Weedy nonnative species that spreads by seeds - never grow weedy plants that spreads that way - you will never know where they will pop up next. I got and planted one by mistake - it was labeled Woodland Poppy but I found out when the seedpods develop - different from Woodland Poppy by its mustard - like seed pods while Woodland Poppy have rounded hairy seed pods. I got rid of the single plant without having it seed anywhere.

Negative pirl On Dec 27, 2006, pirl from (Arlene) Southold, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

It's become so invasive and such a problem that my reason for adding this note is just a warning to others as to how it might go astray for you, too.

Positive quato On Jul 28, 2006, quato from Hancock, MI wrote:

I noticed this plant growing in the border area at the back of my was in a shady area where mature trees and young trees were growing....I noticed it blooming in early is now the end of July and it is still blooming and putting on new growth. I hope it will reseed itself as it is a perfect plant for that location. I will probably help mother nature and put seeds where I would like them to establish themselves. Does this plant flower the first year?

Positive CatskillKarma On Apr 29, 2005, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

This first appeared as a volunteer on the edge of my lawn. When trying to uproot it, we noticed the lurid orange juice, and realized it must be some sort of dye plant. Took me awhile to identify it, but then found it growing in cottage gardens of old Dutch colonial farmsteads around here. One prefered spot was between rhubarb plants against barn walls.
Mine produces copious amounts of seed, but does not have a particularly high germination rate. The leaves are a pretty bluish shade. My plants don't last too long, a couple of years at most, but it does reseed sufficiently so I always have a couple. Looks great with blue spiderworts.

Positive JanetR On Apr 28, 2005, JanetR from Ottawa, ON (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant grows wild in my zone (4a). I collected seeds from the wild and grew it easily in my garden. By the third year, it was bushy and flowered continuously from May till frost. It is a wonderful foil for showier flowers, such as bleeding heart, wild geranium, and lilies. I had no pest problems, it reseeded a bit, but not invasively. This year, I rescued a volunteer from a common area before the weed whackers got to it and am planting it again at my new house. The flowers on mine are double, adding to the charm. This is apparently a spontaneous mutation.

Neutral NatureWalker On May 26, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree whole heartedly with Baa.

It will grow in practically any soil, full sun or shade but prefers dappled shade and slightly moist soil.
Self seeds like no bodies business.
Sow seeds direct in Spring.

My landlord wants to mow 'em down; but he can't. They're in my protective custody.
Celandine, Greater
Botanical: Chelidonium majus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae

The orange-coloured, acrid juice is commonly used fresh to cure warts, ringworm and corns, but should not be allowed to come into contact with any other part of the skin. (Yes it did turn my hands orange/yellow and removed some of the outer layer of skin it touched; when trying to remove some seeds. *It 'Bled' orange colored sap!) It took 2 weeks for the orange to disappear. Next time I'll use rubber kitchen gloves.

Other than that it was harmless to me. It help the wart BTY.

Neutral Baa On May 31, 2002, Baa wrote:

Clump forming, short lived perennial, which sometimes acts as a biennial, from Europe and Western Asia.

Has blue-green, lobed leaves with scalloped edges. Bears yellow, 4 petalled flowers.

Flowers May-July

Will grow in practically any soil, full sun or shade but prefers dappled shade and slightly moist soil.

Self seeds like no bodies business.

Sow seeds direct in Spring.

Neutral Lilith On Sep 1, 2001, Lilith from Durham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

The flowers of Greater Celandine look like tiny yellow Poppies, but its fruits appear more like those of the cresses and cabbages. The slender capsule splits open from the base releasing tiny black seeds, each with a fleshy, oily outgrowth that is eagerly sought by ants that carry off and disperse the seeds. The plant was formerly widely used for the treatment of sore or cloudy eyes, although the bright orange sap is acrid and poisonous. External application of the sap was used to treat warts, corns and ringworm, although it will equally damage any skin that it touches. In Russia, the plant has been used as an anti-cancer drug. The native distibution of Greater Celandine has been obscured by innumerable escapes from cultivation; it is now found in gardens mostly as a weed.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fort Collins, Colorado
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Prospect, Kentucky
Dexter, Maine
Billerica, Massachusetts
Middleboro, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Imperial, Nebraska
Deposit, New York
East Setauket, New York
Elba, New York
Hillsdale, New York
Southold, New York
Stamford, New York
Washingtonville, New York
West Kill, New York
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Fayetteville, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Westerly, Rhode Island
Clarksville, Tennessee

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