Buttercup Facts

Buttercup Facts
Buttercup is a type of herbaceous plant that belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. There are nearly 2000 species of buttercups that mostly inhabit northern hemisphere. Buttercups are usually found in cold and temperate regions. They prefer moist habitats and live in the fields, meadows, near the roads, in the woodlands, swamps and bogs. Buttercups are widely distributed and abundant in the wild. Some species of buttercups are rare and endangered due to habitat destruction and introduction of new, invasive plant species.
Interesting Buttercup Facts:
Buttercups can grow from 14 to 16 inches in height.
Buttercups have cup-shaped flowers composed of 5 petals. Flowers are usually bright yellow colored. Several species of buttercups have orange, red or white flowers.
Buttercups have lustrous flowers thanks to special layer of reflective cells that are located beneath the superficial cells of the petals.
Buttercups usually bloom from April to May. Some species bloom during the summer.
Buttercups can be easily recognized by their shiny petals. They also possess nectariferous spot, or pool of nectar, on the bottom part of the petals. This structure is used to attract insects and to facilitate pollination. Nectariferous spot is unique feature, characteristic only for the buttercups (it cannot be found in other yellow plants).
Reflexive properties of buttercup flowers are applied in children's game aimed to determine fondness for the butter. If yellow reflection appears on the skin after placing buttercup under the chin - then child likes to eat butter.
Fruit of a buttercup is called achene. It belongs to the group of dry and small fruits that contain only one seed.
Buttercups can be propagated via parts of the root and bulb or via seed.
Scientific name of a buttercup, "Ranunculus", originates from Latin language and it literally means "little frog". Plant is named that way because buttercups often inhabit areas near the water, just like small frogs.
All parts of a buttercup are poisonous for cattle and humans. Signs of intoxication appear immediately after ingestion of the plant. They include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic and blistering of the intestines.
People used to believe that rich yellow color of the butter originates from high content of buttercups in the cows' diet. This belief is false since cows avoid buttercups due to high toxicity of these plants.
Some types of buttercups are incredible toxic and even simple touching of the plants leads to irritation and blistering of the skin.
All toxic chemicals in the buttercups degrade during the process of drying. Hay made of buttercups can be used in a diet of cattle.
Even though compounds isolated from buttercups have toxic effect on the humans, they can be used in medical purposes for treatment of rheumatism.
Buttercups can grow as annual plants (plants that complete their life cycle in one year) or biennial plants (plants that complete their life cycle in two years).

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