Celandine: A Cozy Microhabitat

woodpecker 002This little green plant is thriving, as so many weeds do, in the crack between brick and blacktop. Somehow a seed got in there, and found enough soil and moisture to sustain life.

The dainty scalloped leaves are a non-native wildflower called celandine, a member of the poppy family. In summer it has a pretty yellow, buttercup-like flower. It also has a vivid blaze-orange sap that is quite toxic, but is a tried and true folk remedy for warts. Just dab it on. (It worked for me, but be cautious, the sap is quite caustic and could irritate the skin.)woodpecker 007

The amazing thing is how this little plant survives into the winter. This picture was taken with very cold fingers in the middle of a very chilly January snowstorm.

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Hardly buttercup weather. But honest, all these pictures were taken on the same day, even though the top ones could be a sultry day in August. The celandine and moss were cozy in their little corner of the world, basking in the warmth from the blacktop and the heated brick building. Okay, maybe it’s not exactly hot, but there’s enough warmth to keep the leaves from freezing solid.

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Celandine is a biennial, a plant with a two-year lifespan. So it will be here (unless weed-whacked) next spring, yellow flowers glowing in the sun…doesn’t that sound nice and warm…?

About unmowed

I'm a writer and a botanist who loves the weirdly weedy places of the world.
This entry was posted in environment, leaves, plant parts, Uncategorized, winter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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