Content Detail

Celandine-poppy has showy, yellow, cuplike flowers that grow above the deeply lobed, bluish-green leaves. It is a spring perennial that prefers moist to wet soils and shade. Celandine-poppy can be planted in rain gardens, cottage gardens, native gardens, and naturalized woodlands. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Poppy
  • Family (botanic) Papaveraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, Wet soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Celandine-poppy matures to a height of 1 to 1 ½ feet and a spread of three-quarters to 1 foot. They produce offsets from underground stem structures (rhizomes), and ants distribute seeds.  

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

The native range of celandine-poppy includes portions of the Eastern and Central United States. C Value: 10.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Pollinators such as bees and flies visit the flowers, and woodland mice eat the seeds of celandine-poppies. When the fruit opens to release seeds, ants will help in distributing them.

Leaf description:

Celandine-poppy leaves are bluish-green and deeply lobed. They grow up to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide with leaf stalks (petioles) that can reach 4 inches in length. The leaves occur around the base of the plant (basal leaves), and each flowering stem has one pair of oppositely arranged leaves that extend under the flower. The leaves have between one to three pairs of lobes with one terminal lobe (bipinnatifid). Those deep, primary lobes have rounded, secondary, more shallow lobes along the scalloped edges. The upper leaf surfaces are hairless (glabrous), but the undersides of the leaves are pale and covered in fine hair.

Flower description:

Celandine-poppy flowers look like showy, golden yellow cups. The flowers may grow individually or in small, branched clusters (umbels) on the terminal ends of flowering stems. Each flower is 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Two hairy, leaflike structures (sepals) encase the developing flower bud. As the flower opens, the sepals split and eventually fall off. The flowers have four petals that are rounded and then taper at the point of connection (obovate) and have ruffled, wavy edges. The petals surround numerous thin yellow pollen-bearing structures (stamens) that originate from underneath the superior ovary. The ovary narrows to a shallowly divided tip (knobby stigma) that protrudes from the surrounding stamens. 

Fruit description:

The fruit of celandine-poppy is bluish-green, ellipsoidal, and covered in long hairs (pubescent). The fruit is approximately 1 inch long. It is dry and four-segmented (capsule). When the fruit has matured, the four segments split and curl backwards to reveal the seeds for ants to distribute.

Plant Care:

Deadheading spent blooms is recommended to encourage additional flowers. Division of celandine-poppy is best performed in the spring. It produces sap that can stain skin, so it is recommended to wear gloves when handling.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Celandine-poppy is not prone to major pest or disease issues. Once established, this species can tolerate some drought, but will go dormant as a result. It is resistant to deer and rabbits.


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