Buttercup: genus Ranunculus
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Buttercups (Ranunculaceae), herbaceous plants that grow wild around the world.
Both native and non-native species exist in the United States, and in some areas, they are considered invasive plants that crowd out local wildflowers.
While the family contains a variety of genera, the buttercup genus, Ranunculus, the family namesake, is perhaps the best known.
Close to one hundred Ranunculus species are recognized. The Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), a native West Coast species, blooms in fields around the Pacific Northwest.
Most people are unaware of their toxicity. Buttercups taste awful.
Livestock or pets can become seriously ill if they ingest them. Fortunately, not many animals take a liking to them.
For flower enthusiasts, the orange on the underside of the Southern Oregon Buttercup (Ranunculus austrooreganus), along with the folded sepals, serve as excellent field identification clues.
Its range is limited to the southern counties of Oregon, and it is currently listed as a candidate species on the state's endangered species list.
© 2002-2011 Patricia A. Michaels