Western Isles Past Uses
It is said that here in the Western Isles, Lesser Celandine roots were believed to look like a cow’s udder, and the people here used to hang the plants in their cow byres to ensure high milk yields.
Pollination by Bees
The lesser celandine flowers are pollinated by bumble bees, flies and beetles, but very few seeds are typically set.
As the flowers open when few insects are around the spread is mainly vegetative by tiny bulbils which grow in the leaf axils and drop onto the soil when the plant dies back.
Nutrients Stored Underground
The nutrients for the plant are stored in the underground in the root-tubers.
This allow the plant to spread - they break away from the roots and then these become the new plants for the next following year.
Latin Name Derivation
The lesser celandine plant dies back around May or June and remains dormant throughout the rest of summer, autumn, and winter. Also known as pilewort, it was used to treat haemorrhoids. It is said to contain Vitamin C. The tiny yellow wildflowers, seen all over The Western Isles are really very pretty.
Medicinal Uses - BUT Also Poisonous when Older
The lesser celandine plant has mildly soothing properties, indeed young leaves can be boiled like spinach or eaten in a salad, and the flower buds are a substitute for capers.
However, actually, once the flower arrives quite toxic and poisonous and the sap can cause irritation to the skin and in fact is it said that Lesser celandine may cause hepatitis or liver damage.
The word celandine comes from the Greek word chelidon which means "swallow" (as in the bird)
This lovely yellow wildflower comes into flower early on in the year about the same time as swallows arrive and withers as the swallows depart.
This lovely yellow wildflower is often called the "spring messenger" - as it appears quite early in the year. It sometimes as early as March and therefore heralds spring.
This lovely yellow wildflower seen all over The Western Isles is sometimes also known as Pilewort, Smallwort, Brighteye, and Cheesecups.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|