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Lesser Celandine

A very common spring flower found in large spreading clusters on sunny banks and roadsides.



  • Lesser Celandine: reflections of spring sunshine

    Post date: Tuesday, 4 March, 2014 - 00:00

    You can find small numbers of lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) in flower in sheltered spots from Christmas onward but it is in March that they begin to appear in greater profusion in the Dorset countryside. By the beginning of April there are carpets of them on banks, in woodlands, along hedgerows, on river sides, in fact all over the place. Their bright, cheery faces glow and glisten in the spring sunlight and are a timely reminder of the transformations that occurs before our very eyes every spring, something we must surely all look forward to?

    The lesser celandine is a member of the buttercup family, ranunculacae. It certainly has the golden colouring we associate with buttercups but the petals are narrower and are more pointed making an almost eight-pointed star shaped flower whereas other buttercups tend to have five petals with flattened or rounded ends so there is little chance of confusion.

    There is a greater celandine which is not a ranunculus, it is a member of the crucifereae (cabbage) family and looks nothing like the the lesser! That just goes to show why we use Latin names for precision in identification and not common English country names which can often be very confusing.


Common Name Lesser Celandine
Scientific Name Ranunculus ficaria
Species Group Buttercup Family Ranunculaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Buttercup family - Ranunculaceae
Status very common
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
Preferred Environment
Look for Golden coloured narrow petals in early spring
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Buttercup Family Ranunculaceae