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Ranunculus acris

Meadow Buttercups Fran Rarehare

See it in the Water Gardens and other areas of long grass

The meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) is one of the more common buttercups across Europe and a welcome sign of early summer.

Buttercups (Ranunculus) take their name from rana the latin for frog probably because of their liking for damp conditions. Distinct from the common buttercup, which can be a nuisance in lawns, this elegant  buttercup can reach 90cm in height and is a feature of damp grassland and pastures.

The second part of the meadow buttercups scienific name 'acris' means biting or sharp which releates to the unpleasant taste of the plant. The bitter taste is, of course, a deterent to being eaten by grazing animals.   This is just as well, as like many buttercups, Ranunculus acris is poisonous eaten in large enough quantity.

The toxin is at its highest concentration at the flowering stage, however it degrades rapidly and there is little risk to livestock if dried buttercups are included in hay.



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