Celandine, Greater

Chelidonium majus

Greater Celandine brings the cheer of Spring. Its small bright yellow flowers bring a flash of early colour that carries on flowering throughout the Summer. An orange sap that exudes from the broken stems has long been used to treat warts and other skin conditions.

Chelidon is Greek for the Swallow. Dioscorides stated that the Greater celandine starts flowering when the first swallows arrive and withers when they depart. It was also believed that swallows applied it to the eyes of their young chicks.

Native to Europe and western Asia, greater celandine is a short-lived perennial that grows to around 90cm tall. It is a hardy plant that is associated with woodlands but seems to grow anywhere and everywhere. It is a prolific self-seeder so take care to control its spread. And take care when wearing your finest white clothes in the garden – stains from the orange sap are very hard to remove!

The plant does contain potentially harmful compounds and should only be used internally under the guidance of a Herbal Practitioner. Read on for more details.

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