Greater Celandine Plant Info: Information About Celandine In Gardens

Chelidonium majus.
Image by Oxygenum

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) is an interesting, attractive flower known by several alternate names, including chelidonium, tetterwort, wartweed, devil’s milk, wartwort, rock poppy, garden celandine and others. Read on for greater celandine plant into, including concerns about greater celandine in gardens.

Celandine Plant Information

Where does greater celandine grow? Greater celandine is a non-native wildflower that was introduced by early settlers into the New England, primarily for its medicinal qualities. However, this aggressive plant has naturalized and now grows across most of the United States – especially the southeastern states. It thrives in rich, moist soil and is often seen growing in damp meadows and disturbed areas, such as along roadsides and fences.


Greater celandine plant info wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its close resemblance to another plant, the celandine poppy.

Difference Between Greater Celandine and Celandine Poppy

Before considering the characteristics of greater celandine in gardens, it’s important to learn the difference between greater celandine and celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum), a native plant also known as wood poppy. The two plants are similar and it can be difficult to know which is which because both have bright yellow, four-petaled flowers that bloom in late spring. However, they have distinct differences.

The most dependable method to distinguish greater celandine and celandine poppy is to look at the seed pods. Greater celandine displays long, narrow seedpods while celandine poppy has fuzzy, oval-shaped pods. Additionally, greater celandine displays small blooms measuring less than an inch across, while celandine poppies are double that size.

Celandine poppy is native to the United States. It is well behaved and easy to grow. Greater celandine in gardens, on the other hand, is another story altogether.

Greater Celandine Control

If you’re thinking about growing greater celandine in gardens, think twice. This plant is extremely invasive and may soon crowd out other less rambunctious plants. Even growing the plant in a container isn’t a solution because greater celandine produces great numbers of seeds, which are dispersed by ants and germinate easily.

In short, it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to prevent this plant from spreading to unwanted places unless you confine the plant to a greenhouse. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the entire plant is toxic, especially the roots.

The key is to greater celandine control is to never let the plant go to seed. It’s fortunate that the plant has shallow roots because greater celandine control involves a lot of pulling. Wear gloves because the sap may irritate your skin. You can also use herbicides to kill young plants before they set seeds.

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