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Lesser celandine

Lesser celandine

Lesser celandine is a very common and widespread species throughout the UK and the New Forest is no exception.

It can be found in grasslands, roadside verges and commons, but its true home is woodlands, where it is most frequent along the sunnier ride sides and the edges of the woods.

Being so common there is no one particular place that one should go to find it – almost any hedgerow, road verge or small woodland will have some. The better places will be the drier broad-leaved woodlands in the New Forest. It is not so common in very wet woodlands and uncommon in the darker coniferous woods. It flowers in spring: April and May are the best months to see it.

A local name for lesser celandine is ‘spring messenger’ on account of its relatively stable early spring flowering time. The 18th century naturalist Gilbert White noted that the average first flowering of celandine around his Hampshire home was 21 February. In the late 19th century John Hopkinson gave the same date and it is still the average time of first flowering today.

ID Tip


Lesser celandine is related to buttercups and it looks a bit like a buttercup. The difference is that it has more than six narrow yellow petals as opposed to the five broad petals of buttercups.



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