Lesser celandine

lesser celandine

Chris Lawrence

Lesser Celandine

©Philip Precey

Lesser celandine

Scientific name: Ranunculus ficaria
Heralding spring, a carpet of sunshine-yellow lesser celandine flowers is a joy to see on a woodland walk. Look out for it along hedgerows, in parks and even in graveyards, too, from March onwards.

Species information


Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status


When to see

March to May


Lesser celandine is a characteristic spring flower of woodlands, hedgerows, graveyards and parks where its shiny flowers can carpet area with gold between March and May. As one of the first spring flowers to bloom, it provides a valuable nectar source for early insects. Despite its name, it is not actually a close relative of greater celandine and is a member of the buttercup family instead.

How to identify

Lesser celandine is a low-growing plant with glossy green, heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow, star-like flowers that are about 3cm across. The flowers typically open in the sunlight.



Did you know?

Celandines are mentioned in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' when Aslan returns and the wood turns from winter to spring: "Edmund saw the ground covered in all directions with little yellow flowers - celandines".

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive.