Ranunculus acris (meadow buttercup, common buttercup, blister plant)

description: perennial

place of origin:
temperate Eurasia

urban habitat: dry lawns, neglected commercial and residential landscapes, abandoned building sites, vacant lots, rubble dump sites, highway banks and medians.

ecological function:
disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground; can grow in semi-shade or full sun and spreads rapidly by runners which can inhibit the growth of nearby plants.

history:  Although native to Europe and parts of Asia, Ranunculus acris has become naturalized in Australia and most parts of North America where it is considered a noxious weed. The crushed plant has been used as a poultice to the chest to relieve colds and chest pains and its fresh leaves applied as a rubefacient for treatment of rheumatism, boils, and abscesses. The plant has also been used to induce perspiration, for treatment of spasms, colic and for headache relief. An infusion of its roots has been used for treatment of diarrhea and its sap used as a sedative and to remove warts. In Tibetan medicine, the flowers are used to promote heat and dissolve tumors. A number of Native American tribes have used the plant for treatment of headaches, colds and diarrhea and the Cherokee used it as a sedative, for treatment of sore throats, abscesses and boils. All parts of the plant are toxic when consumed although its leaves are edible when cooked.