14th March 2019

Is there any more beautiful flower in early Spring than the Lesser Celandine? Wordsworth didn’t think so, noting their habit of closing in dull weather– “that shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain, And, the first moment that the sun may shine, Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again”. Also known as ‘Pilewort’ from the ancient “doctrine of signatures”, where, if a part of a plant resembled a disease or condition it was believed to be a cure for that condition: in this case, the nodular roots resembling piles! The 17th century Herbalist, Culpepper claimed it cured his daughter of the so-called “king’s evil” or scrofula within a week. The Celandine is very useful for early insects but the native plant is very invasive so you are better trying the beautiful cultivated varieties like the two I have in my garden photographed here- the bronze-leafed Brazen Hussy and one of the many white-flowered ‘alba’s’ which are easy to grow and split but don’t go too wild. Conditions: Stormy winds and rain for several days. Temperature: Max 11 Min 4C.

Two garden varieties of Celandine



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