This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Bulbous Buttercup - Ranunculus Bulbosus.
Bulbous Buttercup is found on all the inhabited islands and Samson. It is not our only Buttercup. We also have Meadow, Creeping, Hairy, Rough-Fruited or Scilly, Small Flowered, Celery Leaved and St Martin's Buttercup.
Creeping Buttercup is more common than Bulbous and all the rest are rare to very rare. As they all look like Buttercups, with five yellow shiny round ended petals with many stamens, it is the leaves, sepals, growing habits, and fruits that distinguish them.
The Bulbous Buttercup has a bulb like base which is not all that useful as an identification feature as you don't want to dig it up. If the five sepals, the leaflike structures growing under the flowers that originally enclosed the bud, point downwards it is not Creeping Buttercup. If the individual fruits don't have warts and the flowers are not pale yellow it is not Hairy Buttercup. So Bulbous buttercup has downward pointing sepals, smooth fruits and is bright yellow.
The botanical name, Ranunculus Bulbosus, means a plant that likes the same damp habitat conditions as a frog, that has a bulb like feature. Although the reason that Bulbous Buttercup has a bulb like base is to survive dry periods.
Buttercups contain a toxin. Livestock avoid buttercups when they are growing. When the plant is cut and it dries it then loses the toxin. That means that hay containing dried Buttercups is safe for animals to eat. As homoeopathy uses highly diluted poisons in their medicines the toxins from the Bulbous Buttercup is used as a remedy for sciatica, corns, shingles, alcoholic tremors and hiccoughs.
You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.