Celandine Poppy (Wood Poppy)

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.

Habitat and conservation

Wooded slopes and moist, wooded valleys.

image of Celandine Poppy Wood Poppy distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

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.

Human connections

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.

Ecosystem connections

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.