T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus L.
Scientific name: Ranunculus repens
Common name: Creeping buttercup, Buttercup

Buttercup species are tolerant of wet soil conditions, and so are often found in soils that are poorly drained. Creeping buttercup is the only buttercup species commonly found in New Zealand which has a stolon system. As with white clover, the stolon system allows creeping buttercup to spread laterally quite quickly into nearby weed-free areas. It is frequently found in poorly drained lawns, pastures, waste areas and orchards, and also sometimes in crops and gardens.
All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten. Poisoning can occur where buttercups are abundant in overgrazed fields where little other edible plant growth is left, and the animalseat them out of desperation. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering of the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. When Ranunculus plants are handled, naturally occurring ranunculin is broken down to form protoanemonin, which is known to cause contact dermatitis in humans and care should therefore be exercised in excessive handling of the plants[ The toxins are degraded by drying, so hay containing dried buttercup is safe.

A paddock infested with Buttercup (Creeping ) Ranunculus repens.



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