Good morning from a cool but sunny Hastings day.
This week I have some buttercups for you. This is one flower that I remember well from my childhood. There were games that we would play with buttercups but do you think I can remember them.
Anyway I rarely see them around today – we are far more vigorous with our lawn mowing. But I did look them up and found that they are actually poisonous to cattle. Yet how many farmers have named their cows buttercup?
All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten. Poisoning can occur where buttercups are abundant in overgrazed fields where little other edible plant growth is left, and the animals eat them out of desperation. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering of the mouth, mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. When Ranunculus plants are handled, naturally occurring ranunculin is broken down to form protoanemonin, which is known to cause contact dermatitisin humans and care should therefore be exercised in extensive handling of the plants. The toxins are degraded by drying, so hay containing dried buttercups is safe.
What I didn’t know is that buttercups belong to the Ranunculus family.
The name buttercup may derive from a false belief that the plants give butter its characteristic yellow hue (in fact it is poisonous to cows and other livestock). A popular children’s game involves holding a buttercup up to the chin; a yellow reflection is supposed to indicate fondness for butter.
In the interior of the Pacific Northwest of the United States the buttercup[clarification needed] is called “Coyote’s eyes” — ʔiceyéeyenm sílu in Nez Perce and spilyaynmí áčaš in Sahaptin. In the legend Coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and catching them again when Eagle snatched them. Unable to see, Coyote made eyes from the buttercup.
Thanks for visiting.