Ficaria verna subsp. verna (lesser celandine) is small, low-growing perennial from the buttercup family. A British native, it has yellow, star-shaped flowers in spring, and dark green, rounded glossy leaves. The young leaves are rich in vitamin C and can be eaten in salads.
Ficaria verna subsp. verna can be found growing in areas that have damp shade – in woodland, under hedges and along the banks of streams. It also often pops up in gardens. It's one of the first flowers to appear after winter, and is a good nectar source for early pollinators, including queen bumblebees that are emerging from hibernation.
Some gardeners view Ficaria verna subsp. verna as a weed – it can be invasive, spreading via underground root tubers. If it is overtaking your borders, you can try digging it out before it flowers, but you need to be thorough, otherwise the problem will persist. If it's growing in your lawn, frequent mowing may weaken the plant. However if you have an area of the garden where you are happy to let it grow, such as under a hedge or on a bank, it can be an attractive ground cover plant.
Many garden cultivars of celandine, such as Ficaria verna 'Brazen Hussy' are available.
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Advice on buying Ficaria verna subsp. verna
- Lesser celandine is not a plant for a border – grow it under a tree or hedge or on a bank
- Ficaria verna subsp. verna is often sold 'in the green' in spring, or as bulbils in autumn
- You're likely to find to find lesser celandine for sale from online wildflower suppliers. Garden cultivars are also available
Where to buy Ficaria verna subsp. verna