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Reddish Vale Country Park

Flowers/April

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Lesser celandine is a low growing, hairless perennial plant, with fleshy dark green, heart shaped-leaves.

They flower from March to April, the flowers are yellow, turning white as they age.

The plant is found throughout Europe and west Asia.

It prefers bare, damp ground and in the UK it is often a persistent garden weed.

 

Lesser celandine used to be known as pilewort, as it was used to treat haemorrhoids. Supposedly the knobbly tubers of the plant resembled piles. The German name is scharbockskraut (scurvywort) and derives from the use of the early leaves, which are high in vitamin C, against scurvy.

 

The poet William Wordsworth was very fond of the flower and it inspired him to write three poems including the following from his ode to the celandine;

 

I have seen thee, high and low,

Thirty years or more, and yet

T'was a face I did not know.

 

Upon Wordsworth's death it was proposed that a lesser celandine be carved on his memorial plaque inside the church of Saint Oswald at Grasmere, but unfortunately the greater celandine was mistakenly used, a completely different species.

 

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Lesser Celandine