Ranunculus flowers are found in more than 400 hundred different varieties. All of them are toxic. They usually grow in moist or slightly swampy regions, especially in the rainy season. Ranunculus flowers like buttercups are found growing in marshes and meadows. This makes grazing cattle, livestock, sheep and other farm animals extremely susceptible to getting poisoned. Cows are the usual victims of Ranunculus poisoning. Since the herb grows everywhere, it requires a lot of sifting on the part of animals in order to prevent the herbs from being accidentally consumed with the rest of the herbs and grasses in the pasture. It becomes extremely difficult to permanently remove these plants from any area for they grow very well in any moist atmosphere. Removing the plants and seeds every year before their growing season could eventually eliminate the problem.
Ranunculus flowers contain the glycoside, ranunculin, from which protoanemonin is released when the plant is under enzymatic action. Protoanemonin is a yellowish, volatile oil. It has a lactone moiety which undergoes spontaneous polymerisation to produce anemonin. Cows that have been infected produce less milk or red-tinted milk. There can be blood along with diarrhoea, black faeces with a foul odour, nervousness, twitching ears and lips, breathing trouble and in later stages, convulsions. Sheep fall suddenly after consuming Ranunculus flowers. Pigs often face paralysis, but are spared the digestive problems.
Although this plant is extremely deadly and inhaling fumes of the burning plant or drinking its juice have been known to cause death, folklore has grown around the herb. People believed that rubbing Ranunculus flowers onto cows would encourage milk production. In order to guarantee that someone liked butter, a buttercup flower was held beneath the chin. A yellow residue being deposited on the chin indicated the liking and its absence the dislike.
Originally posted 2011-01-18 19:48:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter