From chelidon, a swallow, because it appeared at the time the swallows came.

Perennial. Naturalized from Europe. Dry waste land, roadsides, near dwellings. Throughout New England and the Middle West. Frequent in northern Ohio. April-September.

Stem

Weak, one to two feet high, branching, slightly hairy, containing bright-orange, acrid, juice.

Leaves

Thin, four to eight inches long, deeply cleft into five, irregular, oval lobes, the terminal one the largest.

Flowers

Lusterless yellow, one-half an inch across, on slender pedicels, in a small, umbel-like cluster.

Sepals

Two, falling early.

Petals

Four, rounded.

Stamens

Many, yellow.

Pistil

One, maturing into a long capsule tipped with style and stigma.

The Celandine is a loose, branching herb sprawling along roadsides and waste places, and on the site of old buildings. The pale-green stalk has a whitish bloom and grows from one to two feet high. It is weak and brittle and filled with copious, orange-colored, acrid juice that stains everything it touches. The flowers are half an inch or more across, and are borne in small, loose clusters on slender stems. The four petals are pure yellow and without lustre. The buds nod, though the flower stands erect; two yellowish sepals fall as the flower opens. The leaf is compound, deeply cleft into five or more leaflets; the under-surface has a whitish bloom, is strongly ribbed and veined.

Celandine. Chelidonium majus

Celandine. Chelidonium majus

The seed-pod is slender and often two inches long; it is two-parted and splits upward from the bottom when ripe.