Poison buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus) is an annual herb that is toxic to livestock. It occurs in marshes, ditches and swampy regions
- annual herb to 60cm high
- base leaves are deeply lobed in 3 segments, 10-30mm x 15-50mm; uppermost leaves are crowfoot shaped
- flowering stems are branched and hollow, with pale glossy yellow flowers, 5-10mm in diameter
- each flower has five petals and five sepals. The sepals are usually longer than the petals
- clusters of one-seeded fruit occur as elongated cylindrical heads up to 20mm x 10mm.
Why is it a problem?
- can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation in livestock
- reduces milk production in cows
- juice from the stems is strongly acrid and can cause intense burning of the mouth and digestive tract, followed by nausea and convulsions.
- established in the Chowilla area
- also recorded in Wall Flat and Paiwalla Swamp on the River Murray, and from Rule Swamp on the Victorian border
- widespread in New South Wales and Victoria, and naturalised in south-east Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
- annual herb that occurs in marshes, ditches and swampy regions.
How it spreads
- livestock and feral pigs spread seed and root fragments
- seed can be moved by surface water
- mud adhering to animals, farm machinery and vehicles
- as a contaminant in hay
- localised spread can also occur when pieces of the rootstock are severed and moved during cultivation.