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Ranunculus ficaria - L.                
                 
Common Name Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup
Family Ranunculaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are poisonous. The toxins are unstable and of low toxicity, they are easily destroyed by heat or by drying[19]. The sap can cause irritation to the skin[65]. Do not use internally. Stop using the herb if breathing problems or chest & throat tightness [301].
Habitats Woods, scrub, meadows, by streams etc, avoiding acid soils[9, 17].
Range Nost of Europe, including Britain, to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
UPDATE 11/4/2012: Ranunculus ficaria L. is a synonym of Ficaria verna Huds.

Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ranunculus_ficaria_Sturm59.jpg
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine - Pilewort, Fig buttercup
© Andrew Dunn, http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Ranunculus ficaria is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 6-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Ficaria verna. F. ranunculoides.
Habitats
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Young leaves in spring - raw or cooked as a potherb[2, 74, 105, 183]. The first leaves in spring make an excellent salad[9]. The leaves, stalks and buds can be used like spinach[9], whilst the blanched stems are also eaten[46, 183]. The leaves turn poisonous as the fruit matures[74]. Caution is advised regarding the use of this plant for food, see the notes above on toxicity. Bulbils - cooked and used as a vegetable[9, 105]. The bulbils are formed at the leaf axils and also at the roots[9, 183]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The flower buds make a good substitute for capers[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Vitamin C.

Lesser celandine has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of haemorrhoids and ulcers[254]. It is not recommended for internal use because it contains several toxic components[254]. The whole plant, including the roots, is astringent[4, 165, 238]. It is harvested when flowering in March and April and dried for later use[4]. It is widely used as a remedy for piles and is considered almost a specific[4, 238]. An infusion can be taken internally or it can be made into an ointment and used externally[4, 238]. It is also applied externally to perineal damage after childbirth[238]. Some caution is advised because it can cause irritation to sensitive skins[244].
Other Uses
Teeth.

The flower petals are an effective tooth cleaner[60]. ( See notes at top of the page before using the petals) The plant often forms dense carpets when grown in the shade and can therefore be used as a ground cover though they die down in early summer. This should be done with some caution, however, since the plant can easily become an unwanted and aggressive weed in the garden[K].
Cultivation details
Prefers a moist loamy neutral to alkaline soil in full sun or shade[1, 238]. A very common and invasive weed[17, 90], especially when growing in the shade because this encourages formation of bulbils at the leaf bases[238]. You would regret introducing it into your garden, though it might have a place in the wild garden[90]. This is, however, a polymorphic species[90] and there are a number of named forms selected for their ornamental value[188]. These are normally less invasive than the type species. The plant flowers early in the year when there are few pollinating insects and so seed is not freely produced[4]. The plant, however, produced tubercles (small tubers) along the stems and each of these can grow into a new plant[4]. Grows well along woodland edges[24], and in the deeper shade of the woodland where it often forms dense carpets[4]. The flowers do not open in dull weather and even on sunny days do not open before about 9 o'clock in the morning and are closed by 5 o'clock in the evening[4]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54].
Propagation
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. This species doesn't really need any help from us. Division in spring.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ranunculus acrisMeadow Buttercup, Tall buttercup, Showy buttercup12
Ranunculus aquatilisWater Crowfoot, White water crowfoot11
Ranunculus arvensisCorn Buttercup01
Ranunculus bulbosusBulbous Buttercup, St. Anthony's turnip12
Ranunculus californicusCalifornia Buttercup10
Ranunculus chinensisHui Hui Suan10
Ranunculus flammulaLesser Spearwort, Greater creeping spearwort01
Ranunculus hirtus 01
Ranunculus inamoeusGraceful Buttercup10
Ranunculus japonicusMao Gen11
Ranunculus kochii 10
Ranunculus muricatusRough-Seed Buttercup, Spinyfruit buttercup01
Ranunculus nipponicus 10
Ranunculus occidentalisWestern Buttercup10
Ranunculus pallasiiButtercup, Pallas' buttercup10
Ranunculus pennsylvanicusPennsylvania Buttercup11
Ranunculus quelpaertensis 10
Ranunculus repensCreeping Buttercup, Prairie Double-flowered Buttercup, Water Buttercup, Creeping Buttercup11
Ranunculus reptansCreeping Spearwort10
Ranunculus rivularis 01
Ranunculus sceleratusCelery-Leaved Buttercup, Cursed buttercup11
Ranunculus tachreoi 10
Ranunculus ternatus 01
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Expert comment
 
      
Author
L.
Botanical References
17
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Michal Tomczyk Thu Jun 13 09:54:25 2002

It's used in folk medicine and homeopathy as an antiinflammatory, astringent, antibiotic and antihaemorrhagic treatment. The extracts of the plant are applied to haemorrhoids by topical application as ointment or suppository. Previous phytochemical studies of pilewort tubers proved the presence of triterpenoid saponins. In the above-ground parts of the plants amino acids, mineral element as well as vitamin C were detected. Pilewort is the first plant outside of the Gentianaceae family to be reported as containing the disaccharide - gentiobiose. In teh fresh parts of the plant, ranunculin and products of its decompostion have been observed. In our previous papers, we have reported the identification of phenolic acids and the isolation and structure elucidation of flavonoid compounds derivatives of keapmferol and guercetin and C-glycosidic derivatives of apigenin and luteolin from flowers and leaves of Ficaria verna Huds..

Elizabeth H.
Fred Gillam Sat May 31 19:44:12 2003
At times I use small quantities of Lesser Celandine leaves in spring salads, ensuring that I pick only the fresh green leaves. Generally this is before the plant is in flower. I have suffered no ill effects so far, and find the taste quite pleasant.
Aisling B.
Apr 16 2013 12:00AM
I just read that lesser celandine was edible and quickly ran out to try it. I had just picked and eaten some wild garlic and ground elder before trying it. I picked a leaf from a flowering plant. At first the taste was mild then it had a strong after taste but no burning. After chopping and cooking the wild garlic and ground elder in a fish dish I experienced some throat burning, but very slight. I will be wary of it but I will try it again in small quantity from a young plant.
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Subject : Ranunculus ficaria  
 

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