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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

23 September, 2016

Greater Celandine: the topic of cancer



Our common English names for plants and animals can be fraught with problems and cause confusion. I am sure we all know a celandine when we see one don't we? Or do we?
The lesser celandine is a common bright yellow flower of the spring; it has five petals and is a member of the buttercup family and one might expect the greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) to be similar but bigger. In reality it is totally different; pale yellow, four petals, flowers in summer and is a member of the poppy family! It is bigger than the lesser celandine, much, much taller. The lesser celandine is found in woodlands and places where the grass in thin whilst the greater is found on hedgerow banks, usually near housing. So, the same name but totally different flowers. 
Being a member of the poppy family the greater celandine is interesting medically. It is a poisonous plant but extracts from it have been used in herbal medicines for treating many conditions fr centuries. However, recent developments have shown that it may have the capacity to arrest the growth of cancer cells and tests are ongoing on this.
Greater Celandine: the topic of cancer