There was an interesting article in the Yorkshire Post on February 20th by Roger Ratcliffe on the Signs of Spring and featuring Celandines, and the following information about the plant is from his article. He feels they are an ‘unsung sign of winter’s end’ and describes patches of them as ‘ glowing like a patch of gilded sunlight’. Apparently Sunday 21st February is known as Celandine Day. This was the average date of the flower’s first appearance which the naturalist Gilbert White recorded in his notebooks.
William Wordsworth made no secret of the Lesser Celandine being his favourite flower and praised the flower in several poems, one of them, after praising many of the early spring flowers ends the poem with the line
‘There’s a flower that shall be mine/’Tis the little Celandine.
He had instructed that the flower should be carved on his memorial inside St Oswald’s Church in Grasmere. However, the sculptor who carved the stone was given a drawing of the Greater Celandine which is an entirely different plant, not in the same family, and may not even have been familiar to the poet, but that is the plant that is on the memorial.
In the distant past concoctions of the plant have been used to treat various conditions including scrofula, a form of tuberculosis. A preparation of the plant was made up by the 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper to treat his daughter.
Locally Celandines have now been seen at Kilnsey as has Coltsfoot. Hazel Catkins are looking lovely on the trees and leaves of Wild Arum very much in evidence. March should see the flowering of many favourite plants – Violets, Primroses, Cowslips and by the end of the month, hopefully the beginning of a release from lockdown. Hurrah!!