Chelidonium majus Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: Greater celandine, Tetterwort [En], Grande chélidoine, Grande Éclaire, Herbe aux verrues [Fr], Stinkende gouwe [Nl], Schöllkraut [De], Celidonia [It], Celidonia mayor, Hierba golondrinera [Es], Χελιδόνιο το μέγα [Gr], Kirlangiç out [Tu]
Hamoir, LIEGE ● Belgium
Description: Herbaceous perennial erect plant, reaching 30 to 120 cm high. The leaves are lobed and wavy-edged (crenate), 30 cm long. When injured, the plant exudes a yellow to orange latex.
The flowers consist of four yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, with two sepals, in umbelliform cymes of about 4 flowers. A double-flowered variety occurs naturally.
The seeds are small and black, borne in a long capsule. Each has an elaiosome, which attracts ants to disperse the seeds (myrmecochory).
Biology: Flowering from May to September.
Habitat: Rubble, damp ground, banks, hedgerows and by walls, nearly always close to human habitations.
Distribution: It is native to Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America.
Uses: Chelidonium majus has traditionally been used for treatment of various inflammatory diseases including atopic dermatitis. It is also traditionally used in the treatment of gallstones and dyspepsia. It is used today as a mild sedative, antispasmodic and detoxifying herb, relaxing the muscles of the bronchial tubes, intestines and other organs. The latex is much used externally to treat warts.
Caution: The whole plant is toxic in moderate doses as it contains a range of isoquinoline alkaloids but there are numerous therapeutic uses when used at the correct dosage. The main alkaloid present in the herb and root is coptisine.
Early studies of celandine showed that it causes contact dermatitis and eye irritation, particularly from contact with the poisonous red to yellow latex of the stem.
Plant For A Future