What’s a better sight for winter-sore eyes than a bright burst of yellow in your spring garden? Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) is a striking woodland flower with cheerful lemon-colored blooms from April to June. The deeply cut blue-green foliage will stay beautiful right through fall if you keep the soil moist. Since celandine poppy likes shade, it’s a perfect pick for that hard-to-fill shady spot in your garden.
Common name: Celandine poppy
Botanical name: Stylophorum diphyllum
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4 to 9
Height: 1 to 1½ feet
• Sun: Part shade to full shade
• Soil: Moist, humusy
• Moisture: Medium to wet
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil and prevent weeds.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By seed or by division
Pests and diseases
• Slugs and snails may be a problem.
• Celandine poppy needs regular watering; plants will go dormant if the soil is too dry.
• S. diphyllum naturalizes well in shaded areas of wildflower or woodland gardens. It may get weedy or self-seed excessively under certain conditions.
• Celandine poppy looks great in a shady border among shrubs.
• The plant has rough, hairy, oblong-shaped green fruit that’s considered ornamental.
• S. diphyllum is a good companion plant for other spring bloomers, such as Virginia bluebells, bloodroot, Jacob’s ladder, bleeding heart, and trout lily.
All in the family
• Papaveraceae is also known as the poppy family.
• Like other members of Papaveraceae, celandine poppy contains a yellowish-orange sap, which Native Americans used as dye for clothes, baskets, and war paint.
• The family contains the opium poppy (P. somniferum), which is cultivated for its seeds (the poppy seeds used in cooking) and for its use in making opium and opiates.
• Celandine poppy is the only member of the genus native to the United States.
Where to buy
• Forestfarm, Williams, OR, 541-846-7269, www.forestfarm.com
• Joy Creek Nursery, Scappoose, OR, 503-543-7474, www.joycreek.com
• Toadshade Wildflower Farm, Frenchtown, NJ, 908-996-7500, www.toadshade.com
(Photo courtesy of Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden).