Greater calendine (Chelidonium majus) Елена-Патерикина

Greater calendine

Chelidonium majus


  • Perennial herbaceous flowering plant in the poppy family.
  • Greater celandine is low to the ground early in its life cycle but flowers at a height of 1-2 feet.
  • Greater celandine flowers have smaller petal which are clearly separated from each other in a cross-shape. The flowers consist of four yellow petals each with two sepals. The flowers appear from late spring to summer.
  • The blue-green leaves are pinnate with lobed and wavy margins, up to 30 cm (12 in) long.
  • When injured, the plant exudes a yellow to orange latex.
  • The seeds are born in skinny silique-like pods (similar to those of mustards) which are held in upright clusters.
  • Typically found in degraded woodlands, shady roadsides, dumps, and similarly disturbed areas.
Greater calendine orange sap. Leslie Mehrhoff.

Introduction and Spread

  • Native of Europe that was introduced to North America in the late 1600’s as an herbal remedy for skin problems and many other ailments.
  • Occurs in southwest British Columbia, and from Ontario to Nova Scotia.
  • This plant reproduces by seed. The seeds are attractive to ants who aid in their dispersal.

Consequences of invasion

  • May grow in dense stands that suppress native tree seedlings due to shade.
  • The entire plant is toxic, especially the roots.

Status in the CKISS region

  • Greater calendine is currently classified as Insufficient Information on the CKISS Annual Priority List.
  • There is insufficient information on greater calendine and the impact that it has in the CKISS region.
  • CKISS will continue to monitor and manage greater calendine.

Integrated pest management options


  • Be PlantWise to avoid spreading greater calendine.

Mechanical Treatment

  • Hand pull plants (ideally before they go to seed).
  • Wear gloves because the sap may irritate your skin.

Additional resources

Greater calendine (Chelidonium majus)