Tag Archives: Forsythia

Is Lesser Celandine really a weed?

So, is this little plant, Ranunculus ficaria, offensive or not?

It is incredibly effective at spreading itself about: the little bulblets drop off the roots as you dig up the plant to remove it, and lo! you have fifteen instead of one.

The little bulblets and lanky stems of lesser celandine
The little bulblets spread so easily!

But, as you can see here, what can happen is that you end up with the prettiest Springtime carpet.

Lesser celandine carpeting the ground underneath well-maintained Forsythia shrubs
Beautiful Spring Colour!

This is in the ‘Planty’ park in Krakow; I don’t know if the celandine is deliberate or accidental, but since the Forsythia is looked after so well (this is exactly how it should be pruned), extrapolation suggests it was added to produce a wonderful plant partnership. And great ground cover!

The flowers and leaves flourish for a brief period in mid-Spring, then die back and vanish till next year.

I’ve found, in a mix of accident and experiment, that Snowdrops; Lesser Celandine and Astrantia (Masterwort) work in succession brilliantly, each hiding the dying leaves of the previous, and enjoying deciduous light shade, woodland style (which means damp in spring but drier throughout the summer).

My conclusion, is that since it’s impossible to eradicate once you have it, that it’s best to make the most of it!