Ranunculus sceleratus cursed crowfoot Ranunculaceae RESC; Bx, pb; NY; K; R;

Ranunculus sceleratus.Janet Novak.www.ct-botanical-society.org

Ranunculus sceleratus.© 2002 Janet Novak.www.ct-botanical-society.org (Accessed 4/2014).

Ranunculus sceleratus is an annual or short-lived perennial herb to 60 cm, stems 1-3, erect, stout, hollow, smooth, branched above. 

Leaves alternate, succulent, long-stalked, blades deeply 3-parted, segments divided again and toothed, upper leaves smaller, usually of 3 linear segments. 

Flowers pale yellow, petals to 0.3 cm long, shorter than sepals, inflorescence stalks finely hairy, flowers numerous; blooming May-Aug. 

Fruit a cylindrical to rounded head of dry achenes to 1 cm long, achenes 0.1 cm, thickened and corky at base, usually with minute cross ridges on central area. 

Wetland status: OBL. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Circumboreal Partially native, partially Eurasian. 

Habitat: Wet soil of open areas, marshes, tolerates brackish water. 

Notes: Contains the toxic oil protoanemonin in higher concentrations than many other Ranunculus species (Kingsbury 1964). Juice from the stems is said to cause blisters; this may be why the plant is called “cursed.” (CT Botanical society, 2003).