Ranunculus sceleratus

Ranunculus sceleratus known by the common names celery-leaved buttercup,[1] celery-leaf buttercup,[2] and cursed buttercup[3] is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It has a circumpolar distribution in the northern hemisphere, native to temperate and boreal North America and Eurasia, where it grows in wet and moist habitats, including ponds and streambanks.

Ranunculus sceleratus
Ranunculus sceleratus LC0079.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
R. sceleratus
Binomial name
Ranunculus sceleratus


Ranunculus sceleratus is an annual herb growing up to half a meter tall. The leaves are more or less glabrous (hairless) and have small blades each deeply lobed or divided into three leaflets. They are borne on long petioles. The flowers are 5-10mm across with five or fewer yellow petals a few millimeters long and reflexed sepals. The fruit is an achene borne in a cluster of several.[4]: 110, 114 

While buttercups are toxic due to the presence of the substance protoanemonin, this applies in particular for the cursed buttercup: it is the most toxic buttercup and contains 2.5% protoanemonin. When the leaves are wrinkled, damaged or crushed, they bring out unsightly sores and blisters on human skin.


Ranunculus sceleratus has a circumpolar distribution in the northern hemisphere[5] There are two varieties and one subspecies[6] with distinctive distributions: R. sceleratus ssp. reptabundus occurs in northern Finland and north-west Russia.[5] R. scleratus var. multifidus occurs in north western North America.[5] and R. scleratus var. longissimus is found from Minnesota to Alabama according to their biodiversity and plant atlases respectively.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ranunculus sceleratus, Celery-leaved buttercup". London: Natural History Museum. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  2. ^ Lee, Sangtae; Chang, Kae Sun, eds. (2015). English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. p. 602. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via Korea Forest Service.
  3. ^ "Ranunculus sceleratus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 Oct 2015.
  4. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725.
  5. ^ a b c Anderberg, Arne. "Ranunculus sceleratus (L.) Sw". Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  6. ^ "The Plant List: Ranunculus sceleratus L". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2016.

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