Photo: zen (flickr)
The American wild flower celandine poppy grows well in shade gardens as well as in the woods. Its botanical name is “stylophorum diphyllum” and it has lots of bright yellow blooms in the spring and early summer.
The flowers are followed by fuzzy seed pods that may scatter seeds in unexpected spots but it is not an aggressive self-sower. The leaves are grey-green and scalloped and mix well with the leaves of hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts and other shade loving plants.
Celandine has a dark yellow alkaloid sap, which was once used medicinally. Remedies used to be selected because they resembled either a part of the body or a symptom and so the yellow sap from the celandine poppy was thought to be a cure for patients with jaundice. Nowadays many gardeners think that celandine sap actually irritates the skin.
During pioneer times these plants sometimes called “wood poppies” may have been taken from place to place in doctor’s bags as they are now found growing in many different areas of this country.
In Europe, there is a rampant weed known as “Lesser Celandine” but it should not be confused with our celandine poppy, which is a little gem.