€2,75 – €11,75
Quite tall native perennial with yellow flowers and shiny petals. Meadow buttercup is poisonous, its juice is harmful to the eyes. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
Polish name: pungent buttercup, pimple herb
Latin name: Ranunculus acris
Family: buttercups Ranunuculaceae
Status in Poland: native, common
Perennial plant forming a rosette every year, and then sprouting erect flower shoots. It differs from the rest of the Polish genera because of the lack of runners. Both the rhizomes and the roots are thick. Above-ground shoots are branchy, high, densely overgrown with a soft tomentose tightly attached to the stem, less often bare.
The basal leaves are characterized by elongated petioles and very strong incisions, giving them the form of lobes; while the stems are characterized by shorter petioles, fewer lobes, and generally finer dimensions.
In May, and less frequently in July again it produces five-parted, bisexual, bright yellow (hence the generic name) flowers, divided into a calyx and a corolla. An important distinguishing feature of buttercups is the huge number of stamens and pistils per single flower, and their evolutionary primitiveness, as they are arranged in a spiral inside the flower.
Fruits of the non-cracking follicles type with a rostrum. Relatively few seeds of the orthodox type with a TSW about 1.7 g.
Easy cultivation. It likes places with moderate light, and the moderately compact, fertile, loamy-sandy, peat-sandy or humus-rich soils. It is not picky about the reaction.
The best spacing for it is 33 by 33 cm. It can be propagated from seeds, but then it may not repeat the varietal characteristics. Therefore, gardeners prefer to divide old clumps in winter or early spring.
In hay meadows and pastures meadow buttercup was very undesirable because of its poisonous properties to cattle and its unpleasant bitter-searing taste. It used to severely lower milk production and spoil its taste. Mowed and highly dried up becomes less poisonous. On the other hand, gardeners liked it for its strong colors, planting it in perennial beds and over ponds.
Meadow buttercup was an important ornamental and medicinal plant in the Middle Ages. As far back in old herbariums you can find specimens of full-flowered varieties that were fashionable at the time, e.g. ‘Flore Pleno’ or ‘Multiplex’, resembling related to buttercups, globeflowers Trollius.
The decoction of the herb, especially the leaves, treated skin problems, hence the old name “pimple herb”. Buttercup juice can damage your eyes (there is a reason of being its name similar to the name of the eye disease: glaucoma). In polish both words are nearly the same.
On lawns, urban flower meadows, flower margins in orchards, and along roads, you can meet Fries’s buttercup imported from Western Europe, sometimes feral in Poland, considered either a separate species or a subspecies of the meadow buttercup R. acris ssp. friesanus.. It differs from our wild type mainly by the bare filaments of the stamens, and the longer and more horizontal rhizomes, but there are many intermediate forms.
It belongs to the little known, poorly researched bee forages.
In some places (for example in the mountains, in the vicinity of national parks, and nature reserves), it may play a role in the supply of the bees in May, but there are no precise data on its pollen and nectar productivity.