Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Lesser Celandine

During the clean-up in March, a pretty yellow flower was spotted beneath the brambles and the rubbish. There was some discussion as to what the flower was. It was lesser celandine.

Lesser celandine cover the valley and
provide colour and food on a warm April day.

It's a low-growing plant that is related to the buttercup. It features heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow flowers. The plant prefers bare, damp ground, which is why it can be seen lining the banks of the stream in the valley.

The quality that the lesser celandine is most well-known for is its early flowers; the yellow blooms are often regarded as a sign of spring. Because of this it's made it's way into a lot of literature, such as The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. As the eternal winter melts away, celandines appear in the forests of Narnia.

Another name for the plant is pilewort, as it was thought to be a cure for haemorrhoids. The early leaves, which are rich in vitamin C, were also used as a treatment for scurvy. In the Broadlands Valley Greenway it does not get used for medicine, but the flowers instead provide food for insects, such as peacock butterflies.

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