The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Known to grow in Ithilien, but evidently more widespread
Species
Probably Ficaria verna1
Meaning
From Greek chelidón, the bird 'swallow' (so named because celandines appear at that same time of year that swallows migrate back to Europe after the winter)

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About this entry:

  • Updated 7 May 2019
  • Updates planned: 1

Celandines

Yellow star-shaped flowers

A flowering plant that grows thickly in damp conditions, creating a carpet of dark green leaves from which bright yellow flowers emerge, each ringed by a star of pointed petals. These flowers grew in the glades of Ithilien, where they were seen by Frodo and Sam as they wandered that land. They are not specifically recorded elsewhere, but they appear to have been widespread across Middle-earth.

Though celandines are only directly described in Ithilien, there are a handful of references to them from further afield. For example, a daughter of the Brandybuck family of Buckland was given the name 'Celandine', suggesting that the flower grew as far north and west as the Shire. In Gondolin, the House of the Golden Flower was said to have been named for the celandine, placing the flower as far west as Beleriand during the First Age.


The sole reference to celandines in The Lord of the Rings comes from The Two Towers IV 7, Journey to the Cross-roads: 'About them lay long launds of green grass dappled with celandine and anemones, white and blue....' Note that the 'white and blue' here refers specifically to the anemones; celandines are always yellow in colour.


Notes

1

There are in fact two quite unrelated plants known as 'celandines', but the flower found by Frodo and Sam in Ithilien was almost certainly the ground flower Ficaria verna (or Ranunculus ficaria) known in full as the lesser celandine. There is also a greater celandine, Chelidonium majus, but this tall herb does not seem to match the description of celandines growing among the grass as seen by the journeying Hobbits.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 7 May 2019
  • Updates planned: 1

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