This plant came to us by way of a community clean up of a women's shelter. Overgrown landscaping was being subdued and new, lower maintenance plants were going into the dirt. The landscaper in charge of the new design had only been able to see the grounds in winter--consequently, some of the things that had erupted by late spring were a bit of a surprise. Especially this one.
Celandine Poppy (
), also known as Yellow Wood Poppy, is a luscious plant for moist shade. At the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, these flowers make a richly textured carpet beneath mature poplars and other shade trees. Ours is tucked under the eaves on the north side of the house. While this spot receives no direct sun, it is a "bright" shade because of reflected sunlight. Due to the slope of the lot, it is rarely without some moisture, and is evidently quite happy, since the plant normally tops out at about 14 inches, and ours is flaunting 27. Shameless!
Celandine Poppy is classified as an herb. The stems are a bit brittle--when we first brought the poor baby home, I think she had a mere two intact stems. Evidently they were sufficient. While the flowers appear singly, after only one year in the ground, they just keep coming. A week ago I thought she was just about done, but we appear to be entering Round Two, which means that our little wood poppy has been blooming for at least a month! The flowers are between an inch and two across and delightfully simple in structure--in contrast to the leaves, which are deeply lobed with texture to match. The foliage alone is reason enough to grow this plant--but if you live in the Eastern United States (or Canada) and have some moist shade to deal with, Celandine Poppy will be happy to brighten that spot up for you.
As fascinating as the leaves are, the seed pods are even more fun. They will get up to an inch long. They are as fuzzy as they appear, though not as soft as, say, bunny grass or lamb's ear. Inside each pod are a number of seeds, which must be kept moist in order to propagate. In fact, they need to be planted upon ripening, so work fast! You can also propagate this plant by division. Be aware that the brittle stems will make this a bit of a challenge, and that at least two intact stems must survive the trauma in order for the new plant to survive. In some areas, this plant is protected--and in regions of Canada it is considered endangered. As delightful as this gem is, it is worth tracking down and adding to your Native Backyard!