Introduced. Perennial. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: May to September. Seed-time: June to October. Range: Throughout the United States and Canada; most common and troublesome at the North. Habitat: Meadows, pastures, roadsides, and waste places.
The juices of this weed are so acrid as to draw blisters when applied to the skin. Grazing cattle seem to know its character and shun the plant. This irritant quality is dispelled in drying, however, and, though as hay the plant is woody and innutritious, it will not then injure the mouths and intestines of animals that eat it.
Stem two to three feet tall, springing from clustered and fibrous roots, erect, hollow, hairy, branched at top. Basal leaves tufted, three- to seven-parted, the divisions again cleft into several narrow, pointed lobes; petioles long, slender, and hairy; upper leaves short-petioled, distant, usually three-parted. Flowers bright yellow, nearly an inch broad, the five petals broadly obovate, much longer than the spreading calyx. Fruits in small, globose heads, the achenes somewhat compressed, and with short-pointed beaks. (Fig. 109.)
Where the plants are few, pulling and hoe-cutting will repay the labor; but grass lands too rankly cursed with Ranunculus should be broken up and put to cultivated crops, and well fertilized and tilled for a year or two before being reseeded heavily with clean seed.
Fig. 109. - Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris). X 1/4.