Chelidonium majusPapaveraceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitLeaf
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Greater celandine

The Plant:

  • An herbaceous biennial, 1-2 feet tall. Stems are branched.

The Leaves:

  • alternate
  • thin
  • once to twice pinnately divided
  • ovate to obovate
  • toothed
  • lobed
  • glaucous beneath
  • short, soft hairs along veins on underside of leaves

The Stem:

  • ribbed
  • branched
  • short, soft hairs
  • exude yellow-orange sap when broken
  • stems swollen at base

The Flowers:

  • Yellow, four-petaled flowers with many stamens. Flowers are arranged in small umbels and are held in leaf axils. Blooms from May to June.

The Fruits:

  • green capsules are lumpy
  • linear to oblong
  • seeds black

The Habitat:

  • roadsides, disturbed areas
  • along fences, buildings


  • ant-dispersed seeds

Key ID Features:

  • light green divided, lobed leaves
  • small, 4 petaled yellow flowers
  • magenta seed vessels
  • yellow-orange juice from broken stems

Similar Species:

  • Yellow hornpoppy (Glaucium flavum)
  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Bushy rock-cress (Cardamine impatiens)


  • This species can be numerous in disturbed sites and outcompete native plants.
  • On Nantucket, this species is fairly prevalent, mostly on roadsides and wooded edges.

Growth Form: Herb

Origin: Europe, Asia

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Do not list at this time

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston