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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!

17 September, 2016

Celery-leaved Buttercup: the cursed buttercup

Everyone knows what a buttercup looks like don't they? Bold, bright, shiny yellow flowers that grow in fields and in hedgerows. The buttercup or ranunculus family is a bit more complex that than with several variations on a theme.
The celery-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus) is one of those variations. It still has yellow flowers but the petals are quite small and the central 'works' are green rather than the yellow in many buttercups and they stand as a dome in the centre of the flower. The leaves are very serrated (see the Latin name sceleratus) on a tall, fleshy stem that can reach two feet tall. This not like the buttercup on your lawn! This is not a plant of grassy areas and verges, this is species found on muddy areas in marshes, usually fresh water but not always.
This is a very toxic plant, it is known as the cursed buttercup in India, and can cause blisters if handled and it certainly should not be eaten! That said it has medicinal uses and extracts of it are used to treat infected wounds.
Celery-leaved Buttercup: the cursed buttercup