The WALA Plant Library
Greater Celandine

Synonyms for Greater Celandine: Tetterwort, Devil's Milk, Garden Celandine, Common Celandine, Swallow Herb, Swallow Wort
Scientific Name: Chelidonium majus L.
Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)


Maybe you have sometimes wondered why you have yellow fingers after weeding the garden. The culprit is almost certainly Greater Celandine. This herb, which can reach a height of up to one metre, can completely take over a flower bed if it is not called to order from time to time. When you pull it out it the plant exudes a yellow sap which is contained in all its parts, even in the roots. From May to September the fast growing plant with its bluish-green, almost pinnate leaves bears golden yellow flowers with four petals which are arranged in small umbels. The long seeds produced by the plant have a white attachment, an elaiosome or oil body, which ants find very tasty. A good trick for species distribution. The ants take the celandine seeds away with them when they carry the tasty morsels back home to eat. The hairy plant, which is related to the poppy, is common on nitrogen-rich soils close to human habitation.