Last spring a lovely but uninvited guest showed up in my garden.  At first, I thought it was a rather pretty weed.  However, upon further investigation, I discovered that Mother Nature had bestowed one of her showiest woodland flowers upon me.  How generous of her to provide a Celandine or golden wood poppy for free.

The Celandine poppy is quite common in SE Michigan; nevertheless, it adds stunning beauty wherever it grows.  The S. diphyllum likes digging its roots into damp, rich soil and prefers taking up residence in shady woodland areas.   According to www.gpc.edu, this member of the poppy family is “the only member of the genus that is native to the United States.”

This cheerful, happy plant requires almost no care and grows 12”-24” tall producing deep-yellow blooms 1-1/2” to 2” wide.  The flowers grow solitary or in a small cluster atop the stem.  The deeply-lobed, gray-green leaves are divided and usually have a pair of stem leaves and one or more basal leaves.  The fruit of the Celandine poppy is a bristly-hairy, light green elongated capsule that’s also quite ornamental.

Celandines are not an aggressive plant in the garden.  They tend to be very polite and stay put.  A rather self-sufficient plant, it will remain attractive throughout the summer and may even bloom intermittently if given the right habitat and conditions.  It’s an easy plant to grow and their large, fleshy rhizomes divide easily.  Unlike many perennials we all know and love, the Celandines only need dividing if you want more of them.  We don’t need to divide them to rejuvenate them like we have to do with hostas or cone flowers.

You could use the various parts of this plant for many things.  Like other members of the poppy family, Celandines contain a yellowish orange sap.  The GPC website says Native Americans used the sap as a dye for baskets, clothes, and war paint.

Further, the Celandine proved to be an important herb for its medicinal uses:  treating liver diseases and improving the blood (http://earthnotes.tripod.com/celandine.htm) just for a few remedies.   Other benefits of this marvelous plant abound, and if you’re so inclined, you can go to the website mentioned here to get more information.  I found that the use of the Celandine’s juice to treat corns, dandruff, piles, styes, and toothache simply amazing.  Who knew this darling little plant was such a treasure trove of healing?  And, I thought it was just a cute little thing.  😉

Hmmmm, maybe instead of going to the pharmacy, I should just start shopping for cures in my garden.  Would that help get rid of the big-money, pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington d’ya think?