Common Name
Buttercup, crowsfoot
Botanic Name
Ranunculus spp. Among the buttercups considered more toxic to animals than others are R. scleratus, R. flammula, R. parviflora, R. acris, R. abortivus, R. repens, R. cymbalaria, and R. testiculatus
Plant Family
Borders of lakes, ponds and streams, generally in wet areas, early spring bloomer
Depending upon the species, buttercups are found throughout the USA
Animals Affected
Cattle, horses
Toxic Principle
An oily glycoside, ranunculin, which is converted to protoanemonin by the action of plant enzymes released when the plant is chewed. Protoanemonin is an irritant and can cause blistering of the mucous membranes. The dried plant non-toxic. The bitter taste of the protoanemonin can also be passed through the milk of lactating animals.
Perennial herbaceous plants with fibrous roots. Stems are erect, stout, hairless or nearly so. The basal leaves are reniform, long petioled, and 3-parted. The upper leaves are sessile or short-petioled. Flowers are few, sepals 5, petals yellow, stamens are 10-many, pistils many, fruit is an achene.
Excessive salivation, reddening of oral mucous membranes, and diarrhea.
Animals usually recover rapidly once removed from the buttercups.
Special Notes
References: 1. Olsen JD, Anderson TE, Murphy JC, Madsen G. Bur buttercup poisoning of sheep. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1983, 183:538-543.
Burbuttercup - Ranunculus testiculatus