Ficaria verna

Common Names: Lesser celandine, pilewort, fig buttercup
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Buttercup family

J. R. R. Tolkien mentions this plant (and many others!) when he describes spring in Ithilien: 'Great ilexes of huge girth stood dark and solemn in wide glades with here and there among them hoary ash-trees, and giant oaks just putting out their brown-green buds. About them lay long launds of green grass dappled with celandine and anemones, white and blue, now folded for sleep; and there were acres populous with the leaves of woodland hyacinths: already their sleek bell-stems were thrusting through the mould.' The Two Towers, Book IV, Ch 7, 'Journey to the Cross-roads'.

A hairless perennial, with spirally-arranged cordate dark-green leaves without stipules. It produces actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) flowers with 3 sepaloid tepals and 7 to 12 glossy yellow petaloid tepals. Double flowered varieties also occur. The stamens and carpels are numerous, and the fruit is a single-seeded achene with a very short style.

It prefers bare, damp ground. Commonly found near ponds, lakes, and streams. Emerging in late winter with flowers appearing March through May, its appearance across the landscape is regarded by many as a harbinger of spring.

Primary Flower Color: Yellow
Secondary Flower Color: Yellow
Edible Notes: Poisonous.
Warnings: Contact with damaged or crushed Ficaria leaves can cause itching, rashes or blistering on the skin. Poisonous.