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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

14 April, 2016

Creeping Buttercup: running wild

By far the most common of our buttercups is the creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens). It flowers from May through until October and even on after that in milder winters.  
It tends to be lower growing than the meadow buttercup and it has a vigorous display of large leaves which is the best way to tell them apart. The other common buttercup, bulbous buttercup, does not have these sturdy leaves either and is a much more delicate flower. It spreads mainly by producing runners that take root when in contact with the earth, hence creeping buttercup. It can be rampant where it occurs because of this method of reproducing.
Found across the county in hedgerows, woodlands, meadows, grassland, and waysides, especially in damp conditions. Indeed, you can find it just about anywhere, including on your lawn! Like most buttercups this is a poisonous plant but, although often found in meadows, it has an acrid taste and cattle tend to avoid eating it. The poison is post when the plant is dried so it does no harm in hay cut from those meadows.
Creeping Buttercup: running wild