We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Ranunculus ficaria - 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    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup


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

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary

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


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Ranunculus ficaria 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: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Ficaria verna. F. ranunculoides.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

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].

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.

Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Vitamin C.

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].

Other Uses

Teeth.

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].

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].

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

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

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ranunculus acrisMeadow Buttercup, Tall buttercup, Showy buttercup12
Ranunculus aquatilisWater Crowfoot, White water crowfoot11
Ranunculus arvensisCorn Buttercup01
Ranunculus bulbosusBulbous Buttercup, St. Anthony's turnip12
Ranunculus californicusCalifornia Buttercup10
Ranunculus chinensisHui Hui Suan10
Ranunculus flammulaLesser Spearwort, Greater creeping spearwort01
Ranunculus hirtus 01
Ranunculus inamoeusGraceful Buttercup10
Ranunculus japonicusMao Gen11
Ranunculus kochii 10
Ranunculus muricatusRough-Seed Buttercup, Spinyfruit buttercup01
Ranunculus nipponicus 10
Ranunculus occidentalisWestern Buttercup10
Ranunculus pallasiiButtercup, Pallas' buttercup10
Ranunculus pennsylvanicusPennsylvania Buttercup11
Ranunculus quelpaertensis 10
Ranunculus repensCreeping Buttercup, Prairie Double-flowered Buttercup, Water Buttercup, Creeping Buttercup11
Ranunculus reptansCreeping Spearwort10
Ranunculus rivularis 01
Ranunculus sceleratusCelery-Leaved Buttercup, Cursed buttercup11
Ranunculus tachreoi 10
Ranunculus ternatus 01

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Michal Tomczyk   Thu Jun 13 09:54:25 2002

It's used in folk medicine and homeopathy as an antiinflammatory, astringent, antibiotic and antihaemorrhagic treatment. The extracts of the plant are applied to haemorrhoids by topical application as ointment or suppository. Previous phytochemical studies of pilewort tubers proved the presence of triterpenoid saponins. In the above-ground parts of the plants amino acids, mineral element as well as vitamin C were detected. Pilewort is the first plant outside of the Gentianaceae family to be reported as containing the disaccharide - gentiobiose. In teh fresh parts of the plant, ranunculin and products of its decompostion have been observed. In our previous papers, we have reported the identification of phenolic acids and the isolation and structure elucidation of flavonoid compounds derivatives of keapmferol and guercetin and C-glycosidic derivatives of apigenin and luteolin from flowers and leaves of Ficaria verna Huds..

Fred Gillam   Sat May 31 19:44:12 2003

At times I use small quantities of Lesser Celandine leaves in spring salads, ensuring that I pick only the fresh green leaves. Generally this is before the plant is in flower. I have suffered no ill effects so far, and find the taste quite pleasant.

   Apr 16 2013 12:00AM

I just read that lesser celandine was edible and quickly ran out to try it. I had just picked and eaten some wild garlic and ground elder before trying it. I picked a leaf from a flowering plant. At first the taste was mild then it had a strong after taste but no burning. After chopping and cooking the wild garlic and ground elder in a fish dish I experienced some throat burning, but very slight. I will be wary of it but I will try it again in small quantity from a young plant.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Ranunculus ficaria  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.