Ranunculus acris

Botanical Name :Ranunculus acris
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. acris
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Gold Cup. Grenouillette.

Common names: Meadow buttercup, tall buttercup and giant buttercup.

Habitat:  This Buttercup is a native of meadows and pastures in all the northern parts of Europe, and is  more common buttercups across Europe and temperate Eurasia. This plant normally grows in damp meadows and pastures, usually on calcareous or circum-neutral soils. Also found on damp rock ledges, in gullies and occasionally on mountain top detritus

Description:
Ranunculus acris is a perennial flowering plant, growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).The leaves vary a good deal in form, according to their position on the plant: the lower leaves are on long petioles (foot-stalks) and are comprised of numerous wide-spreading and deeply divided segments; the upper leaves are small, composed of few segments, simple in form and few in number. The root is perennial, though the plant itself dies down each autumn, and has many long, white fibres.

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It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera. The petals of the flower are bright, shining yellow; the calyx is composed of five greenish-yellow spreading sepals. The centre of the flower, as in other Buttercups, is a clustering mass of stamens round the smooth, green immature seed-vessels, which develop into a round head of numerous small bodies called achenes. It is not frost tender.

Cultivation:  
Prefers a moist loamy soil. Grows well in marshy soils. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A good plant for the summer meadow. It spreads rapidly by means of runners and is often a weed in lawns or gardens. A polymorphic species, there is at least one named variety. ‘Flore Pleno‘ is a double-flowered form that does not spread by runners and so is unlikely to become a nuisance in the garden. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation:  
Seed – sow spring in situ. You are very unlikely to need to encourage this plant. Division in spring. Very easy, though probably totally unnecessary, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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Edible Uses:Leaves are cooked and used as greens. Some caution is advised, see the notes on Known Hazards below.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used-: Whole herb.
The whole plant is acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic and rubefacient. The plant has been crushed and applied as a poultice to the chest to relieve colds and chest pains. The fresh leaves have been used as a rubefacient in the treatment of rheumatism etc. The flowers and the leaves have been crushed and sniffed as a treatment for headaches. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The poulticed root is also rubefacient and was applied to boils and abscess. The plant sap has been used to remove warts. The sap has also been used as a sedative. The flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have an acrid taste and a heating potency. Their use is said to promote heat, dissolve tumours and draw out serous fluids. They are used in the treatment of disorders brought about by rotting sores or wounds. Use with caution, the whole plant is extremely acrid and can cause intense pain and burning of the mouth, mucous membranes etc.

The juice of the leaves takes away warts, and bruised together with the roots will act as a caustic. In violent headaches where pain is confined to one part, a plaster made of them often affords instant relief, and they have been used in gout with great success.

The fresh leaves formed part of a famous cure for cancer, practised by a Mr. Plunkett in 1794.

Thornton, in his Herbal of 100 years ago, says if a decoction of the plant be poured on ground containing worms, ‘they will be forced to rise from their concealment.’

Known Hazards:   All parts of the plant are poisonous, the toxins can be destroyed by heat or by drying. The plant has a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ranunculus+acris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/croup120.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranunculus_acri

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