Chelidonium majus (Celandine)

Plant Info
Also known as: Greater Celandine
Genus:Chelidonium
Family:Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life cycle:biennial
Origin:Europe
Status:
  • 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.

Notes:

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.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Wild Ones Twin Cities Chapter

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water

More photos

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

Comments

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: carole.gernes@rwmwd.org. 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: https://wizzley.com/wood-poppy-identification/

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 wizzley.com 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.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.