Botanical Name : Ranunculus sceleratus
Species: R. sceleratus
Synonym: Marsh Crowfoot.
Common Name:Cursed buttercup and Celery-leaved buttercup
Habitat : A common plant native to Europe and naturalized in the United States. Can be found in fields, pastures and dry meadows of the northeastern United States and the Pacific northwest coastal areas
It is an annual herb growing up to half a meter tall. The leaves have small blades each deeply lobed or divided into usually three leaflets. They are borne on long petioles. The flower has three to five yellow petals a few millimeters long and reflexed sepals. The fruit is an achene borne in a cluster of several.
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General: hairless to sparsely stiff-hairy annual with
numerous slender, fleshy roots. Stems 1 to several, erect,
20-50 cm tall, usually freely branched, hollow.
Leaves: the basal with a stalk 2-4 times as long as the
blades, the blade kidney-shaped in outline, mostly 2.5-4
cm long and deeply 3 (or apparently 5)-parted into more or
less wedge-shaped, and again less deeply once- or twice-
lobed or toothed. Stem leaves numerous, alternate, more
deeply cleft or divided than the basal leaves.
Flowers: several on stalks rather stout, 1-3 cm long.
Sepals 5, spreading, yellowish, 2-4.5 mm long, soon
dropped. Petals 5, yellow, 2-5 mm long. Nectary scale 1
mm long, largely joined to the petal, the edges and base
forming a slight pocket bordering and partially covering the
exposed gland. Receptacle in fruit ellipsoid-cylindric, up to
14 mm long, usually slightly short-hairy. Stamens 15-20.
Flowering time: May-September.
Fruits: achenes, 100-250 in a cylindrical cluster,
obovate in outline, about 1 mm long, flattened, the central
portion of the face smooth and set off from the edges by a
distinct depression. Style pimple-like, about 0.1 mm long.
Cultivation :: In and by slow streams, ditches and shallow ponds of mineral rich water and muddy bottoms, avoiding acid soils.
Propagation :: Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. This plant is unlikely to need much assistance. Division in spring.
Edible parts of Celery-Leaved Buttercup: Young plant cooked. It is said to be not unwholesome if the plant is boiled and the water thrown away and then the plant cooked again. Caution is strongly advised, see the notes above on toxicity and below on medicinal uses.
Part used: Juice of leaves and flowers
Acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, rebefacient.
Has been used for abrasions, toothache, and rheumatism.
The Montagnais tribe of Native Americans relieved sinus headache by using the dried plant as snuff to promote sneezing. The Algonquins of Temiscaming used the flowers and seeds powdered for the same purpose.
The celery-leafed buttercup is one of the most virulent of plants. When bruised and applied to the skin it raises a blister and creates a sore that is not easy to heal. If chewed it inflames the tongue and produces violent effects. The herb should be used fresh since it loses its effects when dried. The leaves and the root are used externally as an antirheumatic. The seed is tonic and is used in the treatment of colds, general debility, rheumatism and spermatorrhea. When made into a tincture, given in small diluted doses, it proves curative of stitch in the side and neuralgic pains between the ribs.
Mostly used homeopathically.A homeopathic tincture is used for skin diseases, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, rhinitis.
*Sources state both red and yellow can be produced. The Ojibwe used burr oak to set the color which was probably red. The Forest Potawatomi used the entire plant to produce a yellow dye which they used on rushes or flags to make baskets and mats (color was set by placing a handful of clay in the pot).
*The Ojibwe smoked the seeds in their pipes along with other herbs to lure deer close enough for a shot with bow and arrow.
Known hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous when fresh, the toxins are destroyed by heat or by drying. The plant also has 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.