Lawn Weeds: Lesser Celandine [Ranunculus ficaria]


Lesser celandine is a perennial weed that is common in moist soils and shaded areas. It can often be seen on roadside verges and in areas of woodland, during the spring, where it can look quite attractive.

The plant emerges from a bunch of tubers in the soil during the early springtime and disappears again towards the end of May when it dies back down.

Lesser celandine leaves are heart-shaped with a glossy surfaces. Sometimes the leaves have a light-dark green mottled appearance to them.

The yellow flowers have between 8 – 12 glossy petals which appear during March and April.


If the plants are few in number hand weeding may be practical. Use a small hand fork to dig up and remove the tubers from the lawn.

Lesser celandine may prove very difficult to control with a selective weed killer. The weed is moderately resistant to most chemicals and more than one application will be needed.

However, as this weed appears for a short time, applying more than one application can be difficult. For the best results use a weed killer that contains MCPA as soon as the leaves are developed.

Retreat about 6 weeks after the initial treatment before it disappears again. Even then success may be limited and the weed may re-emerge during the following spring.

When using chemicals on the lawn always wear the correct protective equipment and clothing and always follow the manufacturer’s health & safety recommendations and application guidelines.

For more information on the application of selective herbicide please visit our Lawn Weeds page.

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