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Ranunculus acris

Ranunculus acris L.

 

Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusRanunculusFrom Latin rana, “little frog,” because many species grow in moist places
Speciesacris“Sharp-tasting, biting, acrid”

About plant names...

Buttercups are natives of Europe and temperate portions of Eurasia, and possibly Greenland and Alaska. It has been introduced to North America and Australia, where it is naturalized and widespread, even invasive in some regions.

Ever wondered why buttercups have such bright, shiny flowers? You might be surprised to know that people have speculated about this for over a century, and that researchers recently discovered a possibly unique mechanism for the strong yellow reflection. The article, published in the Royal Society journal Interface, is summarized by Science Daily.

Identification: Buttercups are 12-36" (30-91 cm) high, with leaves on stalks near the base, and smaller, less lobed upper leaves on the stems that bear flowers. Stems are usually hairy, hollow, and with few leaves. Flowers are bright yellow, sometimes with an orange tint, and often shiny, with five petals and a yellow center, about ⅞" (2.5 cm) across. They appear from May to September.

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

Basal leaves are deeply divided.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones All members of the buttercup family are poisonous. Extremely bitter. Causes salivation, skin irritation, blisters, abdominal distress, inflammation, and diarrhea.

Online References:

Ranunculus acris on Henriette’s Herbal Homepage

Ranunculus acris on the King County Washington Noxious Weeds list

Ranunculus acris on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Ranunculus acris at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Ranunculus acris on CalPhotos

Ranunculus acris on eFloras

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

6/16/2013 · Sonny and Donna’s, Tenant’s Harbor, ME
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Ranunculus acris description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm) ID is uncertain

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

5/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 2½ × 2½" (7.2 × 7.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

5/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 2½ × 2½" (7.3 × 6.8 cm)

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

5/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

5/29/2010 · Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth, ME
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Ranunculus acris (Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Common Buttercup)

6/14/2008 · Grays, North Monmouth, ME
≈ 18 × 17" (45 × 43 cm)

Range:

About this map...