Golden Stars in the Grass

Celandines are a flower that can be seen just about anywhere in the woodlands, but are fairly inconspicuous unless the sun is shining or the air is warm. Then the brassy gold stars shine out from the grass or emerging nettles, brightening a bank or wood edge. This clump was photographed on our Crow Wood wildflower bank.

There should be some in flower at least until mid-April, so there will be chances to see them for many days yet. When not in flower the plant can be identified by the rosette of heart shaped leaves with a characteristic netting effect of the veins. You may also have Celandines in your garden, they can usually be found in shaded, less well weeded sections.

Celandines, or more correctly Lesser Celandines, did not need to be included in any wildflower seed mix we bought as they were already here. Not as abundant as they were a few years ago, they suffered badly in the very dry spring and summer of 2018, but still worth looking out for on a warm sunny day. There is a Greater Celandine, but that is common further south in the UK, and in fact it is not a related species; Greater Celandine are related to poppies, while Lesser Celandines are part of the Buttercup family.

Of course, they are not flowering for our benefit. The close up of the flower shows the ring of anthers inside the petals that can produce a lot of pollen, some of it can be made out scattered on the bases of the petals.

This is a key food source for Solitary Bees and some flies which will also function in the transfer of pollen to other Celandine flowers to allow them to produce viable seed. This tiny species of Solitary Bee was photographed collecting pollen in April 2015 and they too will not be active unless there is warmth in the sun.

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