Celandine Poppy (Wood Poppy)

Photo of celandine poppy plant and flowers
Scientific Name
Stylophorum diphyllum
Papaveraceae (poppies)

A much-branched, soft-stemmed herb to 18 inches tall. Blooms April through June. Flowers are single or only a few, arising from leaf axils, with 4 bright yellow rounded petals and many stamens, about 2 inches across, very showy. Basal leaves are on long stems, pinnately divided almost to the midrib, with many lobed or toothed segments. Stem leaves are similar to basal ones but are smaller and only 2 on a stem. Leaf color is bluish green, the underside silvery gray. Roots are fleshy, shapeless rhizomes, very large. All parts of the plant contain a yellowish-orange juice.

Height: to about 18 inches.
Where To Find
image of Celandine Poppy Wood Poppy distribution map
Mainly in central and southeast Missouri, as well as in Stone and Taney counties. Because it is a popular garden plant, it's grown throughout the state.
Wooded slopes and moist, wooded valleys.
Celandine poppy is an excellent native wildflower for shade gardens, if provided with humus-rich soil. Plants will go dormant in the summer if the soil dries out or if they receive afternoon sun. The yellowish-orange sap was used as a dye by Native Americans.
A variety of insects undoubtedly visit the flowers for pollen, and mice eat the seeds. Ants, attracted to oils in special parts of the seed coats, carry away the seeds, dispersing them away from the parent plant. Few mammals eat the toxic leaves.
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Where to See Species

Engelmann is a rich forest community that rewards visitors with a variety of natural treats, depending on the season.
About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!