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Ficaria verna - L.

Common Name Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup
Family Ranunculaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are poisonous. The toxins are unstable and of low toxicity, they are easily destroyed by heat or by drying[19]. The sap can cause irritation to the skin[65]. Do not use internally. Stop using the herb if breathing problems or chest & throat tightness [301].
Habitats Woods, scrub, meadows, by streams etc, avoiding acid soils[9, 17].
Range Nost of Europe, including Britain, to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Ficaria verna Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ranunculus_ficaria_Sturm59.jpg
Ficaria verna Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup
© Andrew Dunn, http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

 

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Summary

UPDATE 11/4/2012: Ranunculus ficaria L. is a synonym of Ficaria verna Huds.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Ficaria verna is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf from January to June, in flower from March to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Ficaria verna. F. ranunculoides.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Young leaves in spring - raw or cooked as a potherb[2, 74, 105, 183]. The first leaves in spring make an excellent salad[9]. The leaves, stalks and buds can be used like spinach[9], whilst the blanched stems are also eaten[46, 183]. The leaves turn poisonous as the fruit matures[74]. Caution is advised regarding the use of this plant for food, see the notes above on toxicity. Bulbils - cooked and used as a vegetable[9, 105]. The bulbils are formed at the leaf axils and also at the roots[9, 183]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The flower buds make a good substitute for capers[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Lesser celandine has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of haemorrhoids and ulcers[254]. It is not recommended for internal use because it contains several toxic components[254]. The whole plant, including the roots, is astringent[4, 165, 238]. It is harvested when flowering in March and April and dried for later use[4]. It is widely used as a remedy for piles and is considered almost a specific[4, 238]. An infusion can be taken internally or it can be made into an ointment and used externally[4, 238]. It is also applied externally to perineal damage after childbirth[238]. Some caution is advised because it can cause irritation to sensitive skins[244].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The flower petals are an effective tooth cleaner[60]. ( See notes at top of the page before using the petals) The plant often forms dense carpets when grown in the shade and can therefore be used as a ground cover though they die down in early summer. This should be done with some caution, however, since the plant can easily become an unwanted and aggressive weed in the garden[K].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist loamy neutral to alkaline soil in full sun or shade[1, 238]. A very common and invasive weed[17, 90], especially when growing in the shade because this encourages formation of bulbils at the leaf bases[238]. You would regret introducing it into your garden, though it might have a place in the wild garden[90]. This is, however, a polymorphic species[90] and there are a number of named forms selected for their ornamental value[188]. These are normally less invasive than the type species. The plant flowers early in the year when there are few pollinating insects and so seed is not freely produced[4]. The plant, however, produced tubercles (small tubers) along the stems and each of these can grow into a new plant[4]. Grows well along woodland edges[24], and in the deeper shade of the woodland where it often forms dense carpets[4]. The flowers do not open in dull weather and even on sunny days do not open before about 9 o'clock in the morning and are closed by 5 o'clock in the evening[4]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. This species doesn't really need any help from us. Division in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ranunculus ficariaLesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercupPerennial0.2 0-0 FLMHSNM123

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

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