One with the most curiosity and with an inherent need to socialize any and everywhere is Stylophorum diphyllum, commonly known as the Celandine Poppy. If the robin is the ornithological harbinger of spring, the Celandine is its plant counterpart. Only 1-2 feet tall with bright yellow flowers, in early March, they make the Forrest floor look like the sky has turned upside down and sprinkled the stars, the sun and the moon all over the place. Its pure golden beauty. The deeply lobed, dark green leaves add nice texture for other woodland wildflowers like Phlox divaricata, Tiarella cordifolia, commonly called Foamflower, and Iris cristata, a dwarf iris. Intermix with native ferns and you may find yourself loving them as much as any avid, carefree gardener.
If you are one of those tidy gardeners or one who must always be in control, you may want to stop reading now. But, try to hang in while I explain why Stylo is truly special. While the flowers are little 2″ jewels, the fuzzy, blue-gray seed pods are equally interesting. Break one in half and you will see why Celandines have a penchant for visiting new places without an invitation. They are full of tiny seeds, scattered by wildlife and wild winds. The saffron yellow juice inside the seed pods (and in the roots) was once used as dye by American indians. Even generations later, it is still important for fiber artist and painters seeking Eco-friendly products.
If you can’t see the forest for the Celandines, dig a hole in another location, far from the originals. Fill that hole with water. Return to Stylo. Carefully dig her up (roots are not deep, but as many as possible should be included in a transplant) and take her to the freshly watered hole. Plant. Back fill. And here’s the really great thing – Stylo will not punish you for having been ejected from friends and family. She will neither pout nor shrivel. Instead, she will bounce right back with an enviable adaptability. So what if you have a hundred too many? Share them with friends. Donate them to botanical gardens or any other organization of choice. Many have plant sales for annual fundraisers and would lovingly accept your gifts. The Georgia Native Plant Society comes to mind. Also, Master Gardeners appreciate hand-me-downs for their sales, especially native plants.
If you decide that Stylo is not Kudzu in disguise and that you can abide the constant proliferation, the ideal growing place is in a moist woodland setting with high filtered shade. Direct sunlight is not advisable. Give her a good home with an assortment of woodland companions and you, too, will learn to hold your breath when spring sprinkles its gold dust magic all over your neighborhood and the one next door. Yay for spring and for friendly, happy flowers like Stylophorum diphyllum! Bedazzling!
— Kathryn Gable
Ms. Gable is the Past President of the Georgia Native Plant Society, a Master Naturalist and a Lifetime Achievement Master Gardener.