Plants to look for in March — Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine
Photo credit: Tamsin Bent

Where to look

Woodland and hedge banks, particularly damp places. Also meadows and stream-sides. For more info see


Lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) belong to the buttercup family and confusingly they are not closely related to the greater celandine (which belongs to the poppy family)! There are two types of lesser celandine. The main difference is how they reproduce. Like snowdrops, there aren’t many pollinators around so early in the year, so one species produces bulbils instead of seeds. A bulbil is a tiny secondary bulb that forms in the joint between a leaf and the stem. As it is produced by asexual reproduction, it is exactly the same as its parent and not a mixture of two, like a seed. When ripe, the bulbils become loose and drop to the ground and each one can produce a new plant! Heavy rain can sometimes wash them from the plants and spread them along stream and river banks. They also reproduce from tubers (swollen underground stem or roots, like a potato). The tubers hang in a bunch, a dozen or more together and people thought they looked like a bunch of figs which is where their Latin name ficaria, is from). The tubers break off easily and each one will grow into a new plant and they spread very quickly!

Where we've found Lesser Celandines

Lesser Celandine spottings journal (17 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
17 Mar 2021 Woodchester woods Beau Foxmoor Primary Beau saw bunches of Lesser Celandine in groups sporadically growing in the woods.
9 Mar 2021 Arundel mill pond Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project
24 Feb 2021 Foxmoor Primary
11 May 2020 Woodland Amélie Cooks&Co
11 May 2020 Selsley common stacey Wild group All across the ground like a carpet
15 Apr 2020 In our garden Sean Buckley-Nolans Near the end of our garden, beside the grassey path.
31 Mar 2020 Ullenwood Gloucestershire Jacob National Star - Ullenwood A single lesser celandine hiding amongst the daffodils!
28 Mar 2020 Morris-tree
27 Mar 2020 Stroud Jo The Weaver's
27 Mar 2020 Common ELLA The Weaver's
26 Mar 2020 Weatrip Carol ClH Found a bank of celandines enjoying the sunshine
20 Mar 2020 Stroud Valley Community School
15 Mar 2020 St Columb Major Daisy Blended This is one lonley plant in my garden
15 Mar 2020 St Columb Major Gavin Blended I found it in St Columb Major.
14 Mar 2020 Rodborough Robin Layfield Leafgatherers On our front drive
12 Mar 2020 Tamsin Blended
7 Mar 2020 Stratford Park Tamsin B Stroud Valleys Project


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