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A Ranunculus Sceleratus Flower

A Ranunculus Sceleratus Flower

Ranunculus Sceleratus Flower

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The Ranunculus Sceleratus, commonly called raununculus, is a plant rich in vitamins and minerals. As a result, it has a rich history and a rich list of traits that makes it a surprisingly versatile plant.Primarily short-tongued bees, flies, and beetles visit the the flowers for nectar or pollen. The leaf beetles, Prasocuris ovalis and Prasocuris vittata, feed on the foliage of Ranunculus spp. (buttercups) in wetland areas (Clark et al., 2004). Buttercups are also host plants for such aphids as Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae (Waterlily Aphid), Thecabius populiconduplifolius (Folded-Leaf Poplar Aphid), and Thecabius gravicornis (Folded-Leaf Balsam Aphid); see Hottes & Frison, 1931. The seedheads are probably a minor source of food to some species of waterfowl and small rodents, although there is little specific information that is available. Because the succulent foliage contains a strong blistering agent, it is unlikely that mammalian herbivores utilize this plant as a food source to any significant extent. When livestock consume this plant, the result is severe blistering and irritation of the mouthparts and gastrointestinal tract.

Ranunculus

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The foliage of Cursed Crowfoot is more toxic than most Ranunculus spp. (buttercups). During earlier times, beggars reportedly smeared the juices of the foliage on their faces and arms to create blisters that would solicit sympathy and money from passers-by. Cursed Crowfoot can be identified by its succulent palmately lobed leaves and prominent clusters of green pistils in the center of its flowers. Cursed Crowfoot resembles the common Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup). The latter species has smaller flowers (about �" across) with triangular petals and its seedheads are less elongated and cylindrical at maturity. It also prefers drier habitats than Cursed Crowfoot. Cursed Buttercup is a fast growing annual herb which produces a multitude of small yellow flowers. The flowers have three to five yellow petals 2-5 × 1-3 mm and reflexed sepals as long as petals. The leaves have small blades each deeply lobed or divided into usually three leaflets, and look like coriander leaves. They are borne on long stalks. The fruits arise in heads 5-13 × 3-7 mm and make the plant easy to identify. Cursed Buttercup is a very poisonous plants. Bruised and applied to the skin, it raises a blister and creates a sore which is by no means easy to heal. When chewed, it inflames the tongue and produces violent effects. Cursed Buttercupis found at altitudes up to 1700 m in Europe, C. Asia, Himalayas, N. India, Siberia, Mongolia, China, Japan, N. America. Flowering: February-June.

There are several buttercup species with small yellow flowers. The habitat, leaf shape, and overall plant size are usually the easiest ways to distinguish them. Cursed Crowfoot is fairly common and can be weedy. The stem oozes a sap that may cause blisters, which is probably where the “cursed” name originates. There are 2 varieties in North America, both found in Minnesota: var. multifidus is most common and has smooth seeds, var. sceleratus has seeds with a finely wrinkled surface. Names: Ranunculus sceleratus is in Ranunculus Sect. Hecatonia. The generic name Ranunculus, is from two Latin words, 'rana' meaning ' frog' and 'unculus' meaning 'little' and together they refer to a group of plants, many of which grow in moist places - like little frogs. The species, sceleratus, is Latin for 'cursed' and probably was used to describe this species as it is one of the most dangerous of the genus. See notes below the photos. 'Celery-leaf' comes from the shape of the lower leaves. The family name of Buttercup, used to be "Crowfoot', hence the continuation of the old name in many of the species common names. The author name for the plant classification, 'L.' refers to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and the developer of the binomial nomenclature of modern taxonomy. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)

 

 

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