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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lesser Celandine




I found some of this bright yellow flower in my yard today.  There are a lot of yellow flowers in the yard: dandelions and daffodills now, buttercups and barren strawberries later. These must have been there before because there were too many for it to be brand new, but it wasn't a flower I recognized.

My back neighbor suggested it was the Lesser Celandine, and that seems right. Time to get more information.

The first page I found was less lyrical: http://www.ecosystemgardening.com/most-hated-plants-lesser-celandine.html   It’s an invasive, non-native species that tends to crowd out other plants.  This will mean it will fit nicely in the neglected battleground of our back yard. Note in the picture you can see periwinkle (myrtle) and the start of some daylilies.  This is no place for plants that need pampering.

But there is a poetic balance possible. Here’s a web page that quotes from Wordsworth, a great admirer of the Lesser Celandine. http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2011/03/homage-to-snow-drops-and-other-early.html 

When Wordsworth noticed the plant, he wrote:

I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
Twas a face I did not know.

By coincidence, we’ve lived in this house a bit over 30 years.

Kindly, unassuming Spirii
Careless of thy neighborhood.
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood.
In the lane—there’s not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But ‘tis good enough for thee.

Wordsworth saw the celandine not simply as a ubiquitous presence, but as a “prophet of delight

The Lesser Celandine is safe here in the yard, as I have too many other priorities to want to take it out of it’s spot warring with the periwinkle and daylilies.  I shall look forward to following the process of this literal battle for turf.

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