Chelidonium majus

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Legend for Species Pages


Chelidonium majus L.
  • Occurrence in Alberta – yes
  • Global Invasive Species Database – no
  • NatureServe Rank – Not yet assessed
  • Haber, Upland –
  • Haber, Wetland –
  • CWF, Status & Invasive Range –
  • Alberta Revegetation Guidelines – no
  • The Nature Conservancy –
  • CBCN –
  • AB Weed – no


In Aspen Beach Provincial Park, in the Gull Lake area, this is the reported sighting: "The Celandine I spotted is at least a half a kilometer away from the original site. This area borders on the west side of Gull Lake and is mixed woodland forest, with spruce and poplar predominating. As far as I can recall, the plants are spreading sporadically over an area of perhaps 20 feet on the edge and up to the top of the embankment than runs from the north end of Lakeview campground through to camp Silversides ( Brownlow's Landing). The original site is at the north end of the park, just over the boundary and covers the entire embankment for at least 15 feet." (Bobbie Palanuik). Like other sightings, the plants are double.

The plants found on the Michener Hill Escarpment in Red Deer have multiple floral parts, normally this species has 2 sepals, not 4, and 4 petals, not 8.

This species has also been found in Edmonton where the Highlevel Bridge meets Saskatchewan Drive. See additional photos below:

Celandine(Chelidonium majus), near High level bridge, Edmonton, AB, July 24, 2011. Adam Blake photo
Celandine(Chelidonium majus), near High level bridge, Edmonton, AB, July 24, 2011. Adam Blake photo
Celandine(Chelidonium majus), Michener Hill Escarpment, Red Deer, AB, July 16, 2011. Tony Blake photo
Celandine (Chelidonium majus), Michener Hill Escarpment, Red Deer, AB, July 6, 2011. Tony Blake photo
Celandine (Chelidonium majus), Michener Hill Escarpment, Red Deer, AB, July 6, 2011. Tony Blake photo
Celandine (Chelidonium majus), Brittle stem and distinctive orange sap. Tony Blake photo
Celandine (Chelidonium majus), in forest understory at Gull Lake
Celandine (Chelidonium majus), Diaspores, Photo from

[[1]] From the 'Flora of North America' Vol. 3 | Papaveraceae | Chelidonium:

1. Chelidonium majus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 505. 1753.

Plants to 10 dm. Stems branching, ribbed. Leaves to 35 cm; petiole 2-10 cm; blade deeply 5-9-lobed; margins irregularly dentate or crenate, rarely laciniate. Inflorescences: peduncle 2-10 cm. Flowers: pedicels 5-35 mm; sepals to 1 cm; petals bright yellow, obovate to oblong, to 2 cm wide; style ca. 1 mm. Capsules linear to narrowly oblong, 2-5 cm, glabrous. Seeds black, reticulate-pitted.

Flowering spring-summer. Moist to dry woods, thickets, fields, hedgerows and fences, roadsides, railroads, and waste ground; 0-1000 m; introduced; B.C., N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Conn., Del., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis.; Eurasia.

The irritating sap of Chelidonium has been used to treat warts. In the vegetative state, this weedy introduction from Eurasia is difficult to distinguish from the native Stylophorum diphyllum [which occurs in Ontario, and in some states east of the Missisippi River---USDA Plants Database].

[[2]] From 'DCNR Invasive Exotic Plant Tutorial for Natural Lands Managers':

REPRODUCTIVE/DISPERSAL MECHANISMS: The seeds of this plant are ant-dispersed. This movement is facilitated by an elaiosome on the seed which attracts the ants so that they move it.

DISTRIBUTION: Chelidonium majus is native to Eurasia from Spain to Turkey and Russia, north to Great Britain and Ireland and south to North Africa. In the United States it is located from Maine to Georgia and west to Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. There are also reports of it in Washington, Montana and Utah. This plant has been reported from all the states of New England.

HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND: Chelidonium majus was most likely introduced into New England as an herbal remedy for skin diseases. It was reported to be in New England herb gardens as early as 1672. From these gardens the plant became naturalized and spread across the landscape.

HABITATS (IN NEW ENGLAND): Early Successional Forest, Edge, Floodplain Forest, Open Disturbed Area, Roadside, Vacant Lot, Wet Meadow, Yard or Garden. Chelidonium majus is most often found in disturbed areas especially with moist soil. This plant could be moved conceivably wherever there are ants to move the seeds.

THREATS: Chelidonium majus can become abundant in minimally managed situations, and can outcompete other native herbaceous plants.


USDA Plants Profile [3]

Map references

sample: Map data for T. ramosissima