Open the Advanced Search

Greater Celandine

Chelidonium majus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life Cycle:
Biennial or Perennial
Maximum Size:
85 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, hedgerows, parks, roadsides, towns, walls, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Small yellow flowers. Unrelated to Lesser Celandine and resembling Lesser Celandine only in appearance of its flowers.
A narrow cylindrical pod-like capsule containing black seeds.
Bushy and bluish-green in appearance. Pinnately divided with blunt lobes. Sparsely-haired leaves which are stalked and branch off alternately along the stems. Their undersides are silvery blue.
Smells unpleasant.
Other Names:
Celandine Poppy, Cockfoot, Cock's-foot, Garden Celandine, Kenningwort, Killwort, Nipplewort, Sightwort, Swallowwort, Tetterwort, Wart-wort.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Chelidonium majus, also known as greater celandine or tetterwort, is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a weed. The plant is known for its bright yellow flowers and glossy, lobed leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Chelidonium majus is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1 meter in height. It is commonly found in disturbed areas and is considered an invasive weed in some areas. The plant is toxic to livestock, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. It is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) is a beautiful and unique flowering plant that is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. It is also known by its common name "swallowwort" due to its yellow flowers that resemble a swallow's tail.

This plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various medicinal properties. The roots, leaves and stems of the plant contain alkaloids that have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects. Greater celandine has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, liver and gallbladder disorders, and eye infections.

One of the most well-known uses of greater celandine is in the treatment of warts. The sap from the plant is applied directly to the wart and is said to cause the wart to dry up and eventually fall off. However, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support this use of greater celandine.

In addition to its medicinal uses, greater celandine is also a popular ornamental plant due to its vibrant yellow flowers and dark green leaves. It is often used in gardens and landscapes, and is especially popular in wildflower gardens.

Despite its many uses and benefits, greater celandine should be used with caution. It is a toxic plant, and ingesting large amounts can cause severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and even death. As with any herbal remedy, it is important to consult a qualified healthcare provider before using greater celandine for medicinal purposes.

Greater celandine is a unique and fascinating plant with a rich history of medicinal use. While it has many potential benefits, it should be used with caution and under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties or its beauty, greater celandine is a plant worth learning more about.

Greater celandine is also known to have anti-cancer properties. Some studies have shown that the alkaloids in the plant have the ability to inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells, including breast, lung and colon cancer cells. However, more research is needed in this area before it can be fully understood and recommended for use in cancer treatment.

In traditional Chinese medicine, greater celandine is used to treat liver disorders, as well as to soothe the eyes and improve vision. It is believed to stimulate the flow of bile and promote healthy liver function. It is also used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as digestive problems such as indigestion and constipation.

It is important to note that the use of greater celandine should be limited during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as there is not enough information available on its safety in these populations. Additionally, the plant should not be used by individuals with liver or gallbladder disorders, as it may exacerbate these conditions.

Greater celandine is a versatile and valuable plant that has a long history of medicinal use. Its various properties, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and potential anti-cancer properties make it an interesting area of study for natural medicine. However, as with any natural remedy, it should be used with caution and under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.

It is also important to mention that greater celandine is considered an invasive species in some areas, particularly in North America. This is because the plant is highly adaptable and can quickly spread and dominate native vegetation, which can negatively impact local ecosystems. If you are interested in growing greater celandine, it is recommended to plant it in a contained area to prevent it from spreading into natural habitats.

When collecting greater celandine for medicinal use, it is important to gather it at the right time. The best time to harvest the plant is in the spring when the leaves are young and tender, and before the plant has flowered. The leaves, stems, and roots can all be used, but it is important to note that the plant becomes more toxic as it matures.

In conclusion, greater celandine is a fascinating and valuable plant with a rich history of medicinal use. Its various properties make it an interesting area of study for natural medicine, and its bright yellow flowers make it a beautiful addition to any garden. However, it is important to use caution when using the plant for medicinal purposes, and to be mindful of its potential invasiveness when planting it in the landscape.


Greater Celandine filmed at Heron Mill, Milnthorpe, Cumbria on the 13th August 2022.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map