For Your Garden - March 2008
Even if it's still cold where you live in Illinois, the amount of daylight is increasing and spring wildflowers will start blooming in March. Have you ever thought of including native wildflowers in your garden? Native woodland wildflowers are resistant to cold and drought and are rarely attacked by disease and insects. They are perennials that you can enjoy year after year without having to provide them with much care. They bloom early in the season before tree leaves have all unfurled to take advantage of light that will be unavailable to them later in the spring and summer.
celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Celandine poppy, or wood poppy, is a perennial plant with hairy stems that grow to about one foot in height. The stems have yellow sap that was commonly used as a dye by Native Americans. Leaves grow from the base of the plant and along the stem. The hairy leaves are pinnately lobed, with each leaf up to about 10 inches long. Flowers arise in clusters of up to four at the stem tip. There are four yellow petals per flower, and each flower may be two inches wide. The fruit is a hairy capsule, up to one inch long. Celandine poppy grows in naturally in the rich wet woods of the southern one-fourth of Illinois as well as in Vermilion and Cook counties. Flowers are produced from March through May.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.