Herbs & Plants

Ranunculus pennsylvanicus

Botanical Name : Ranunculus pennsylvanicus
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. pensylvanicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms : Ranunculus pensylvanicus

Common Names:Pennsylvania Buttercup, Bristly Buttercup,Bristly Crowfoot

Habitat : Ranunculus pennsylvanicus   is native to Northern N. America – Labrador to Alaska and south to Colorado. It grows  in  the   wet meadows, alluvium, ditches etc. Stream banks, bogs, moist clearings, depressions in woodlands from sea level to 1700 metres

Ranunculus pennsylvanicus is an    annual/perennial   herbs, or woody climbers  growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) with acrid  sap.  Leaves usually alternate, sometimes opposite; simple or compound, with clasping or dilated base; stipules none. Flowers    hypogynous, actinomorphic or sometimes zygomorphic, bisporangiate or occasionally monosporangiate; perianth of similar
segments or differentiated into calyx and corolla; capels usually  separate; stamens numerous. Fruit an achene, follicle or berry. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a moist loamy soil. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: Leaves – cooked. The leaves contain toxins but in too low a concentration to be harmful.

Medicinal Uses:The plant is rubefacient. It is used to raise blisters

Other Uses :
The entire plant can be boiled to yield a red dye. It is mixed with the bark of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) which acts to fix the colour. The entire plant can be boiled with rushes (Juncus spp) or flags (Iris spp and Acorus calamus) to colour them yellow for use in making mats, baskets etc.

Known Hazards : Although no specific record of toxicity has been found for this plant, many if not all members of this genus are poisonous. These toxins can be destroyed by heat or by drying. Many if not all plants in this genus also have a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin.

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.


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