It is a woodland flower adapted to appear before the trees put on leaves and shade the forest floor, it can also be found under hedgerows and by the roadside, often in large numbers. It is said to be an indicator of ancient woodland.
This is from his poem The little Celandine (1884)
There is a flower, the lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain,
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!
This aptly reflects the flower’s habit of closing in bad weather.
It is a sad poem that goes on to talk about how as the flower ages it loses the ability to open and close and Wordsworth notes, “It cannot help itself in it’s decay.”
There is a story doing the rounds that Wordsworth loved the flower so much that he asked for it to be carved on his grave stone. In fact the carving is on a memorial plaque inside the church of Saint Oswald at Grasmere, in The Lake District. Sadly the other part of the story is true, the carving is of Greater Celandine, a simple mistake.
Lesser Celandine is a member of the Buttercup family and neither looks like nor is related to Greater Celandine, a member of the Poppy family.
Species: Ranunculus ficaria