Lesser celandine is arguably one of the prettiest weeds colonising the soils of Lindifeld. It’s a member of the buttercup family, which given the cheeriness of its bright yellow flower, is not so surprising.
Celandine is one of the first weeds to emerge from winter hibernation. It’s glossy heart-shaped leaves appear towards the end of February, followed by bright yellow flowers, which you can see right now.
Celandine is a British native, and makes a nice addition to areas designated to wildlife. However, you should not welcome it into your garden borders, as it is very difficult to eradicate.
Weeding out Celandine needs to be done with care; otherwise, you are aiding its propagation. As you weed, carefully remove all of the root tubers, otherwise a new plant will grow from what remains. You also need to be careful not to disturb the bulbils (small, above ground bulbs), as these will also create new plants. For this reason, it is good to weed out celandine early, before bulbils have had a chance to form.
Celandine grows from root tubers, and spreads by bulbils growing in the leaf axials
If it is possible (and it isn’t always possible) you can try and smother celandine underneath a thick mulch of organic matter, such as mushroom compost or farmhouse manure. You get the added bonus of improving your soil at the same time, but you want to avoid smothering other emerging perennials in the process.
Sometime around May, Celandine vanishes once more for the year. Its short growing season is both a blessing and a curse, as it’s one bad weed that you can never really get on top off.