The Lesser Celandine is distinguished from the Buttercup by having nine or ten, even sometimes a dozen narrow petals, instead of five, and only three sepals (the outer, generally green leaves of the flower), which fall off on opening, instead of the usual five, which remain after the flower has expanded, in the other species of Ranunculus. Lesser celandine has three effective secret weapons for survival and spread. The seeds develop into little tubers, storing extra food for the plants growth within shaded areas where light is limited. Lesser Celandine. Don't confuse greater celandine with lesser celandine (Family: Ranunculus ficaria). It was popular in the past for providing vitamin C to otherwise scurvy-prone people. Reply. One of these is Ranunculus ficaria (Lesser Celandine, Fig Buttercup). It is only edible before flowering, and when cooked. It’s a great source of Vitamin C, but use it before it flowers and make sure to dry it or cook it before eating it as it contains a toxic compound that is destroyed by heat. Lesser Celandine is a useful plant for shaded areas to provide colour during spring where little else will grow. The flower of lesser celandine looks very different from violet, it's yellow and star-shaped. Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) is a one such “spring ephemeral”—a term typically reserved for the native woodland plants that come and go in this narrow window of time, including many delicate beauties like trout lily and trillium. Lesser celandine is toxic, when eaten raw or after the plant flowers. April 19, 2020 at 8:15 am. Lesser Celandine This plant is best eaten before it flowers, and should be cooked first because it contains protaonemonin, which is a toxic compound that is destroyed by heat. I had always thought celandines were poisonous until Mandy mentioned them last spring in her blog post on the edible lawn.It's important to note that the plant we're talking about here is the lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria, not the greater celandine, Chelidonium majus, which most definitely is poisonous and is completely unrelated to the lesser celandine. 7. The leaves appear in late winter, forming a dense mat which prevents the growth of almost every other plant. ... and edible plant beds. Stephen Jones. The fig buttercup, also known as the lesser celandine or pilewort, is a non-native plant from Europe and Northern Africa that has the potential to become a very bad invasive species in South Carolina. Lesser celandine is sometime applied directly to the skin for bleeding wounds and gums, swollen joints, warts, scratches, and hemorrhoids. 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