Bulbous Buttercup (Common name)

General Poisoning Notes:

Bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus) is a naturalized herb found in a few Canadian provinces. In the past, the juice of this plant was used by beggars in Europe to cause skin lesions, thus eliciting compassion. The volatile chemical protoanemonin is an irritant. Ingesting this plant has poisoned cattle, swine, and humans. The recent literature includes few cases of poisoning (Kingsbury 1964, Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Ranunculus bulbosus L.
Vernacular name(s):
bulbous buttercup
Scientific family name:
Ranunculaceae
Vernacular family name:
crowfoot

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Ranunculus bulbosus

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada, Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/ Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Newfoundland
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or Illustration

Images: Bulbous Buttercup - Google search

Toxic Parts:

  • plant juices

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Notes on Toxic Plant Chemicals:

Ranunculin, a glycoside, occurs in the juice of the buttercups. Upon maceration, a plant enzyme is released that converts ranunculin to protoanemonin. This chemical, a yellow volatile oil, is unstable and either polymerizes to nontoxic anemonin or is volatilized. Air-dried plants, as those found in hay, are nontoxic. Protoanemonin is an irritant that can cause blisters and other problems when ingested (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic Plant Chemicals:

  • ranunculin

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cattle

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

In one case in Britain, a cow salivated, coughed, and discharged mucous from the nostrils after ingesting buttercup plants. The animal swayed in the hindquarters with an uneasy movement of the legs. A period of noisy breathing preceded recovery (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Humans

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

Ingesting the bulbous bases of this buttercup has caused a few cases of illness. An acrid taste and burning of the mouth and throat precludes ingesting large quantities. Other symptoms may include diarrhea and abdominal pain (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Swine

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

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