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Greater Celandine: the topic of cancer

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Greater Celandine: the topic of cancer

Our common English names for plants and animals can be fraught with problems and cause confusion. I am sure we all know a celandine when we see one don't we? Or do we?

The lesser celandine is a common bright yellow flower of the spring; it has five petals and is a member of the buttercup family and one might expect the greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) to be similar but bigger. In reality it is totally different; pale yellow, four petals, flowers in summer and is a member of the poppy family! It is bigger than the lesser celandine, much, much taller. The lesser celandine is found in woodlands and places where the grass in thin whilst the greater is found on hedgerow banks, usually near housing. So, the same name but totally different flowers. 

Being a member of the poppy family the greater celandine is interesting medically. It is a poisonous plant but extracts from it have been used in herbal medicines for treating many conditions fr centuries. However, recent developments have shown that it may have the capacity to arrest the growth of cancer cells and tests are ongoing on this.


 

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