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Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna)

   Lesser Celandine, Fig Buttercup (Ficaria verna), fam. Ranunculaceae.
   Grown in the city garden beds, sometimes covering the soil completely. Also occurs in some areas of the forest, most frequently – around the dam through the Darnytsia stream on the way to Rybne village. This plant has many rare features, among them the inconstancy of the petal number (usually from 8 to 12, whereas most plants have constantly 4, 5 or 6); physiological immaturity of the seeds, which need several months after falling to ripen completely; easiness of propagation from buds and rhizomes.
   Lesser Celandine has diuretic, antiinflammatory, light laxative, analgetic, and wound-healing action. It is toxic, though much less than the related Buttercup, Pasqueflower, Field Larkspur, and Clematis. There are recipes of salads from lesser celandine leaves, but they are controversial – first source may say that the leaves are edible only while very young; second – oppositely, only after blooming; third – that raw leaves are always somewhat toxic, but cooking destroys all traces of poison. As a conclusion – it is better not to risk with them at all.

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