The branched, hairy stems of the celandine grow up to 60 centimetres tall. Its thin, pale green, smooth leaves are deeply divided. The small, four-petalled yellow flowers appear from April to September in groups of three to six, giving way to smooth cylindrical slender capsules containing numerous seeds. When cut, flowers and stems produce an acrid yellow sap, which is used for medicinal purposes.
It is found in rich, damp soil along fences and waysides near habitation. The greater celandine grows primarily in Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced in north-eastern North America.