Celandine Poppy

BinomialStylophorum diphyllum (sty-LOFF-or-um / dy-FILL-um)
Family: Papaveraceae (pah-pah-ver-AY-see-ee), the Poppy Family

We’re so lucky to have the Celandine (SELL-en-deen or SELL-en-dine) Poppy growing in St. Louis!  It’ll be harder to find than Bloodroot, our other famous poppy. But there’s no rush to find it because unlike the Bloodroot, the Celandine Poppy will still be in flower weeks from now.  

If you’re unfamiliar with the Celandine Poppy, this wordless VIDEO (3:31) focuses (and sometimes unfocuses) its entire length on the flowers and leaves of this plant.  And here’s another VIDEO (1:16) that should be helpful, although its presenter isn’t exactly a cheerleader for the study of botany and seems to have filmed it using a pinhole camera.  Nevertheless he does make a couple of useful observations about its 4-petaled flowers and colored sap.  ​

Like it’s neighbor the Bloodroot, the Celandine Poppy also has colored latex. But the Celandine’s is more of a yellow color. It also has unusual-looking leaves, like the Bloodroot. The Celandine also has fatty white elaiosomes attached to its seeds as payment to the ants who then disperse the seeds. The flowers have pollen, but no nectar.

Don’t get confused with the non-native garden plant sometimes called “Lesser Celandine” (Ficaria verna).  It has smaller flowers and isn’t even in the same family.  (It’s in the Ranunculaceae, not the Papaveraceae).  There’s also an invasive European “Greater Celandine” (Chelidonium majus) which is indeed a true poppy, but it isn’t found growing in the St. Louis area.

Flower Features of Celandine Poppy


A single flower, or in umbels of 2-4 flowers, growing from pair of leaves at top of flowering stems


Calyx: 2 short, green sepals that fall off when the flower opens (early deciduous)
Corolla: exactly 4 yellow petals (unlike the Bloodroot which has a multiple of 4 white petals on its only flower)


Stamens: many golden stamens with golden anthers


Ovary: superior position
Carpels: usually 4 fused carpels with a single prominent style
Stigma: knoblike w 3 or 4 shallow lobes
Fruit: hairy, blue-green, ellipsoid pod hangs below leaves, opening with 4 valves

Flower Spotter Week 01 (March 20-26)

​​To view information-rich photos of the Celandine Poppy in all its life stages, please visit: MissouriPlants.com.  And to read an always beautifully-worded description from the Illinois side of the border, please visit: IllinoisWildflowers.info.

Where to find the Celandine Poppy (please protect the plants in our natural areas):

Please click to see a list of all our St. Louis Papaveraceae plants