Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Celandine, from the Greek chelidon a swallow, is the popular name for two very different British plants, Chelidonium majus, and Ranunculus Ficaria. The former, the Greater Celandine, is a glaucous plant with pinnately-lobed leaves, yellow flowers with four petals, a pod-like fruit, and an abundant orange juice, belonging to the poppy tribe. Its juice was used in ophthalmia, an application traditionally alleged to have been discovered by swallows. It is also a rustic remedy for warts and corns; but the corn-cure, now sold under this name, is a preparation of salicylic acid, collodion and Indian hemp, having nothing to do with the plant. Ranunculus Ficaria, the Lesser Celandine or pilewort, one of the commonest and earliest of British flowers, was a favourite with the poet Wordsworth, on whose monument at Grasmere, however, Woolner, the sculptor, has erroneously represented the Chelidonium. The Lesser Celandine has three deciduous sepals, and nine pointed golden petals; its leaves are simple, heart-shaped, obtuse and glossy; and its roots are many of them tuberculate, whence, in accordance with the doctrine of signatures (q.v.), the plant was looked upon as a remedy for haemorrhoids and obtained one of its familiar names.