Greater celandine is a perennial herb with an erect habit, and reaches 30 to 120 cm high. The leaves are pinnate with lobed and wavy-edged margins, 30 cm long. When injured, the plant exudes a yellow to orange latex.
The flowers consist of four yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, with two sepals. A double-flowered variety occurs naturally. The flowers appear from late spring to summer in umbelliform cymes of about 4 flowers.