Chelidonium majus (Celandine)

Plant Info
Also known as: Greater Celandine
Family:Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life cycle:biennial
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
Habitat:part shade, shade; woods, thickets, roadsides, waste areas, fields
Bloom season:May - August
Plant height:12 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: UPL NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] 3 to 8 stalked flowers in a flattish cluster at the end of stems that arise opposite a leaf. Flowers are about ¾ inch across with 4 yellow petals and numerous yellow stamens surrounding a stout green style that elongates to rise above the stamens. A pair of narrow green sepals behind the flower typically drop off when the flower blooms. A plant has several to many clusters on branching stems.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] Leaves are both basal and alternate, compound in groups of 5 to 9, up to 8 inches long and 3 inches wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaflets are up to 1½ inches long and 1 inch wide, mostly hairless, shallowly lobed to cleft with irregular rounded teeth or notches around the edges. Color is blue-green to green. Stems are ribbed, often covered in long white hairs near the base, especially the first year, and more sparsely hairy in the upper part of the plant. Stems exude a yellow to orange sap when broken.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a, slender pod-like capsule ¾ to 2 inches long, straight to slightly curving and generally erect, bulging with seeds as they ripen.


The sap can be very irritating to skin and eyes. Celandine does not appear to be very widespread in Minnesota (yet), but has become a serious pest plant in parts of Wisconsin, where it is a prohibited species. It is only a matter of time before it gets a bigger foothold here. I have no doubt it is under reported, as there are no official records in the counties where these images were taken. Celandine resembles Stylophorum diphyllum, a native poppy found in states farther south and east, which has flowers up to 2 inches across and fruit in hairy ovoid capsules.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Norah - Minnetonka
on: 2011-06-04 13:58:04

I'm fairly certain I've had a large tribe of these flowers growing and seeding near my gardens for the past two years; the leaves look the same and the seed pods as well, though my flowers appear to be a double instead of the simple 4-petal. I've been trying to uncover what particular variety this is but can't seem to find it. They're LOVELY, compact plants (if short-lived) with very happy flowers; they do seed readily, but I've found them easy to remove, with a root structure that pulls up easily if you grab the whole plant by the base. I'm leaving them where I can, as they are beautiful to look at both for the flowers and also for the foliage and shape.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-06-05 17:34:29

Norah, my concern is that you are confident you can keep these plants all confined to your own yard. You cannot. Seed will be transported by wind, water and wildlife and all your good intentions and wishful thinking cannot stop that. That seed will propagate in unwanted places, and spread to further unwanted places. :( Please reconsider your gardening decisions.

Posted by: Carrie - Victoria
on: 2011-07-15 15:49:32

These have been popping up in my yard for a couple years now and spreading. I've been pulling them before they go to seed.

Posted by: Alika - Minneapolis
on: 2012-09-01 17:26:32

A friend of mine had given me a bunch of heirloom flowers from her mothers 80 year old garden in New Prauge MN, I believe among them might have been this flower. Not knowing what it was but enjoying the small yellow flowers I transplanted it to a different spot as it was crowding out some hostas next to a Celadine poppy. Unfortunately, I don't remember if it had any seed pods, but it did have small yellow flowers and still sports a healthy set of green leaves that closely resemble the ones pictured above. Now that I know what it is I will be pulling it out.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-09-02 01:25:12

Alika, note that there is a celandine native farther south and east, too: Stylophorum diphyllum. It shouldn't be invasive but you might want to check you don't have that one before you yank it out.

Posted by: Kirsten - South Minneapolis
on: 2014-05-22 12:37:23

Tons of it. Not sure how it got here but I've been pulling it out for eight years at least.

Posted by: Kay - Maplewood
on: 2014-05-29 18:31:02

I've been trying to identify this for several years. I can believe it's invasive, because it's spreading. I have a very challenging lot, with lots of other invasives. Sigh. I guess I'll add this to the list.

Posted by: Nataly - Northern Iowa (Bordering Jackson, Minnesota)
on: 2014-06-12 08:35:22

Hi, Anyone who claims to have this plant, please send me some roots. I've been looking for this amazing anti-viral, anticancerogenic plant. The yellow sap used in Europe for ages for warts. I gotta have it in my greenhouse.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-06-12 08:57:34

Nataly, you can probably purchase this from any number of online vendors - some sell anything and everything. Please keep it in your greenhouse so it doesn't invade natural areas.

Posted by: Carole Gernes, Ramsey Co. CWMA - Hidden Falls Park, Saint Paul
on: 2014-12-04 14:04:44

This was present prior to the narrow-leaf bittercress removal a few years back. There were a few remaining plants in 2012, so I'm guessing it is still there.

Posted by: Carole Gernes - Ramsey County
on: 2015-04-17 10:10:06

If you find this plant in Ramsey County MN please report its location to the Ramsey County Cooperative Weed Management Area: Thank you!

Posted by: Kristin - Faribault County
on: 2015-04-17 12:50:56

Nataly, this plant is a common garden weed around Delavan, MN. It has really taken over shady areas of the farm I gre up on. Pretty and perhaps useful, it's a terrific spreader by seed! So beware!

Posted by: John - W. St. Paul
on: 2015-05-21 20:52:28

Yesterday(May 20, 2015) I found a dozen or more plants growing in the woods near the Castle Rock in southern Dakota County(not a county of record according to your map). The plants I saw up close had double flowers. I was familiar with the plant from my time at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois. Showed the friend I was with the orange sap.

Posted by: Judy - St. Paul
on: 2015-05-22 17:12:28

I found half dozen of these clustered in my friend's back yard (W 7th area) within his small corner 'forest'. I couldn't find in the wildflower books I have so this is great to finally ID. He had a bunch nasty sticky prickly bushes last fall that we yanked (tiny burrs on stems that caught on everything) and I was afraid these were the same thing, just earlier in the season. They are sweet and eye-catching but will pull out so as not to spread. Thanks!

Posted by: Nancy Braker - Northfield, Rice County
on: 2015-09-23 14:07:20

This plant is invading floodplain forest along Spring Creek in the Carleton College Arboretum. I believe it is washing downstream during flood events from upstream properties. We search for and remove it every year before it goes to seed but I am sure that it will be a years long effort, especially until we find the upstream source.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-09-23 17:49:47

We have seen massive colonies of celandine in the river terraces above the Minnesota River in Nicollet County. I first spotted it some years ago on Dunn Island at Coon Rapids Dam in Anoka County. It seems to definitely be traveling along waterways.

Posted by: Pat W - Pillager arewa
on: 2016-02-23 10:32:15

An unfortunate story. Five years ago I bought seed for Celandine Poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum. Which is what I thought I was growing all along. But it spread wildly in my yard. I didn't know that the seller sent me Chelidonium, I guess thinking it was the same thing. Only this last fall did I finally come to understand what I have and it will be along running battle to eradicate it. Be very careful about this plant.

Posted by: Betsy R - Bloomington
on: 2016-05-15 18:46:03

Yikes! I just pulled up 6 plants growing In my yard. I will continue to be vigilant and pull any more that I find.

Posted by: Judy - St. Paul
on: 2016-05-27 10:43:04

I posted last year (see above) about finding these in neighbor's backyard and thought I'd removed them but No - there were even MORE this year by the time they flowered and I noticed them (just this week). And now realize why: someone previously had added that ineffective black fabric last time they cleared the underbrush and now you can't get all the striding roots, just whatever you can pull from the small rent in the fabric the plant makes. They filled a good third of (menards) paper bag this year. Last year I may have cut up and put into my own compost (which I've yet to use) but this year I'd rather dispose of in trash - if that's okay? I'm close to a Ramsey county compost site but not sure if compost gets hot enough to destroy. Please advise - thanks! :)

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-05-27 20:00:46

Judy, contact your county's weed program for advice and assistance. Do not dump these plants in the county compost site or you may just spread it to new areas. In Ramsey County, your best bet is the Cooperative Weed Management Area. Celandine is on their hit list so you should get some help.

Posted by: Linda - Blackhawk Park in Eagan
on: 2016-05-27 23:31:08

Ugh--I just saw 6 plants of Celandine on the lake side of the unpaved section of the trail. Lovely trail around the lake, though sections are becoming infested with burdock, Japanese hedge parsley, Dames rocket, and garlic mustard. Would Eagan's Park's & Rec folks will consider any action? In past conversations on invasives I haven't seen much inclination (we don't have the time, etc.)

Posted by: Maggie - Crystal
on: 2017-05-07 16:12:26

I purchased a home last fall and have these growing all over my garden this spring. After I pull them, how should I dispose of the plants?

Posted by: Christopher J - Northern Washington County
on: 2017-05-16 08:30:34

I've found the native look-alike Wood Poppy Stylophorum diphyllum thriving in a woodland garden setting near Afton, Mn. (We actually dug some transplants for a master gardener plant sale). Perhaps you should include some info more info on the distinction so folks dont inadvertently destroy this beautiful native? Heres a very good guide for doing that:

Posted by: Whitney - Duluth
on: 2017-05-24 16:53:30

I definitely these in my yard. I will be removing them as soon as I can.

Posted by: Karin - Minneapolis
on: 2017-06-01 22:45:00

Drat! These are in bloom right now at the river dog park located between Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling. I was really hoping they were natives but after consulting I'm certain it's the invasive species.

Posted by: Susan S - Stevens County
on: 2017-06-25 12:31:10

I have been trying to identify these for about six years. They are prolific in my wooded lot; herbicides tend to roll off. Best thing is to pull them out. Any other ideas? How many years can the seeds germinate? Each plant produces many!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-06-25 12:44:48

Susan, just do whatever you have to to prevent any more seed production!

Posted by: Natalie - Richfield, and Circle Pines
on: 2017-09-15 16:10:44

My mom had brought some of these over to my new home, and they are quite aggressive. I started to pull some of them out this spring, and will have to make a greater effort to get at them all this weekend. They are quite prolific in my mother's yard in Circle Pines, though the lot is sandy and they stay about half the height compared to the ones in my Richfield yard.

Posted by: John - not common, but increaing
on: 2018-04-30 10:05:09

The information about the prohibited status in Wisconsin is not very precise and subject to an incorrect conclusion. This plant is a prohibited species in most northern counties of Wisconsin and a restricted species in the southern two thirds of the state. See the Wisconsin DNR guide at John

Posted by: Helen S - Inver Grove Heights, Dakota County
on: 2018-05-05 22:57:25

I have been digging/pulling these rosettes, thinking they might be Japanese Hedge Parsley - but they are not! They must be Celandine ((Chelidonium majus) by the shape of the leaves. I can't remember if they bloomed last year - I am still learning. They are all over, just like foot-steps, on a south-facing hillside that we are restoring from buckthorn, burdock, etc., to oak savanna. A dandelion digger is most helpful, circling the plant. I pulled about a Cub food box half-full so far, nearly done. When the burning ban is lifted, I hope to burn enough brush to burn these too.

Posted by: Karen A - Northfield
on: 2018-05-16 15:56:34

This plant showed up in the shady east side of our yard last year. It's spreading like wildfire, and I think attractive. I've been looking online all day, and finally found it here. I have photos, but don't see how to attach them.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-05-16 17:12:58

Karen, that "spreading like wildfire" bit should concern you.

Posted by: Janet - Northfield
on: 2020-04-06 11:23:49

the past couple of years I have been helping to remove this plant from the Carleton Arboretum, on the east side of Northfield. I was then surprised to see it in my own neighborhood, on the west side of town, near St. Olaf. Now I see it is moving up the block, from house to house. Yes, this is a pretty plant, but it is a real spreader. Don't tolerate it in your yard.

Posted by: Grace Sheely - Minnetonka
on: 2020-05-20 09:22:05

I have 14 plants in my yard that will be in the dumpster next week. Cute little plant. Too bad it is invasive. I think mine came in with a load of wood chip mulch.

Posted by: Jessica Hubbard - Otsego, MN
on: 2020-05-29 20:35:16

We moved here last September and the previous owner said he had brought this plant from Russia 20 years ago. He said that you can boil it and make a tea that soothes upset stomachs. After moving in I couldn't believe all of these plants found in the garden. I decided they were invasive and started removing them. Just today I found exactly what they are through this site.

Posted by: Sarah Johnson - Rochester
on: 2020-06-08 14:14:26

Found a big patch, adjacent to about an acre of garlic mustard, in the woods near Fox Trails Park on city property.

Posted by: Elizabeth Lugert-Thom - Resevoir Woods Park, Roseville MN
on: 2020-07-07 18:20:25

There is a significant amount of Celandine all throughout Resevoir Woods Park. I saw many hundreds of plants along the trail and and in the forested areas.

Posted by: Nanette - Currently in NW
on: 2020-12-28 09:44:44

I've noticed the most invasive species in Minneosta is the human being. Who are we to say which plants belong where? The petrified swamps with alligators that have been uncovered in North Dakota should tell us something about the power of nature and man's puny efforts to control it. Good luck with that! Keep fighting til the end. Ps Which is the poisonous variety of this plant? Is it the native Minnesota or the invasive? I eat weeds. Thank you for this informative website.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-12-28 13:14:14

Nanette, it is not too difficult to determine which species were introduced to this part of North America by unnatural means (i.e. human transport), particularly since the time of European settlement. BTW, there is no celandine species native to Minnesota; the similar Stylophorum diphyllum is native to other parts of the US and I don't know if either is poisonous.

Posted by: Kathy Sidles - Saint Paul
on: 2021-06-22 19:22:37

This looks like what I have been seeing blooming all over Reservoir Woods in Ramsey County off of Larpenteur especially under the pine trees. I'll take a picture and double check its not a look-alike, and report it to Ramsey County Cooperative Weed Management Area unless I hear its already known about.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-06-23 18:31:56

Kathy, I'd report it regardless.

Posted by: Susan Premo - St. Paul
on: 2021-11-03 11:54:41

I was wondering since you shouldn't put these and other invasive species in compost piles, if after pulling them out, would tossing them onto sunny pavement kill it? Then toss it into our heap?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-11-03 12:20:19

Susan, a backyard compost pile isn't likely to generate high enough heat to kill a lot of weed seeds, but the county yard waste site should.

Posted by: Erin Lind - Coon Rapids
on: 2022-05-27 17:40:04

Found several plants of this in my backyard adjacent to Coon Creek. Might have been in a wildflower seed packet I naively planted in the area a few year back. Will try to eradicate.

Posted by: Carolyn Brown - Swede Hollow trail, Saint Paul
on: 2022-06-02 20:29:51

June 2, 2022. I took a photo so I could identify it, but it wasn't easy to find! Very pretty, so I'm sorry to find it's invasive.

Posted by: Julie H - RED WING
on: 2022-06-05 16:13:28

Found this along the edge of the woods near the Goodhue County History Museum, overlooking the city of Red Wing. I had never seen it before so I took a picture of it and researched it at home but it wasn't in my books so I looked online. It looks pretty along the woods so it's sad to learn it is invasive. Our backyard along the bluffs is overrun with Garlic Mustard (white flower & invasive) plants and that never used to be around our area either.

Posted by: Jerry Gretsch - Rice Creek trail, Lino Lakes
on: 2022-06-06 22:32:51

Got some pictures of it while on a bike ride, along Rice Creek trail from Chomonix golf area toward former YMCA, now ? Rookery athletic Bldg. ..Solitary cluster of yellow flowers not far from Rice Creek bridge, identified with aid of Google and Minnesota Wild Flower site.

Posted by: Teri McNamara - Robbinsdale, Hennepin County
on: 2022-06-11 16:29:10

This appeared in my yard a couple years ago and was popping up in several places, before I was able to identify it, thanks to this website. I immediately removed the ones I could see, and luckily, catching it within the first couple years, I have not had many more appearing. However, a friend just gave me some, liking the flowers, so I know it is still spreading in our community. I destroyed the one from her too.

Posted by: Sara Kroger - Southern woods,my yard in Ramsey county, Shoreview near R.V.
on: 2022-07-10 16:22:56

I was given this plant several years ago in a plant exchange. Everything grows great in my sandy loam soil, and this was wildly invasive. Then I saw it growing in southern MN along the Root River bike trail! Help! Have been pulling it out for years. I'll keep on. Sara

Posted by: Sara Kroger - Ramsey County, near Lake Owasso, Shoreview
on: 2022-07-10 16:36:07

Please list this plant on your invasive lists. It's a really thuggish beauty. Trying to take over my yard, and I've seen it invading the woods, too.

Posted by: Naomi Jackson - Minneapolis, near Ford bridge
on: 2023-05-19 10:39:02

We are having trouble with celandine on our sr. co-op grounds near the Mississippi.

Posted by: B. Clarey - bike trail between Peterson & Lanesboro
on: 2023-05-21 09:32:55

Being a state trail is it ok to pull invasive plants if you put them in a plastic bag and dispose of them in the trash?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-05-21 09:41:16

B. Clarey, technically taking plants from state lands without permission is not allowed, but I don't think anyone would complain if you did in this case. Also, technically plants should not go in the trash, but if you label the bag "invasive species" it might be OK. If your city or county has a compost site you might take it there. Backyard composting probably won't heat it enough to kill any seed but the commercial compost sites should.

Posted by: Donna Mackedanz - Roscoe, MN 56371.
on: 2024-05-21 19:35:21

I have found this on the sides of the Glacials Lakes bike trial north of the twin cities-25 miles west of St. Cloud. I have pulled them out with gloves and discarded the plants.

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