Burning buttercup

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Burning buttercup
Burning buttercup (Ranunculus flammula)

Burning buttercup ( Ranunculus flammula )

Order : Buttercups (Ranunculales)
Family : Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)
Subfamily : Ranunculoideae
Tribe : Ranunculeae
Genre : Buttercup ( Ranunculus )
Type : Burning buttercup
Scientific name
Ranunculus flammula

The burning buttercup ( Ranunculus flammula ) is a species of the genus buttercup ( Ranunculus ) in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It is widespread in the northern hemisphere .


Ranunculus flammula

Appearance and leaves

The burning buttercup grows as a deciduous, perennial herbaceous plant , the stature heights of 8 to 50 cm reaches 70 cm in individual specimens. It has a short “rhizome” and fibrous lateral roots. The upright, ascending, seldom prostrate or flooding stem is wavy and curved, as well as bald or sparsely hairy and roots are only formed at the lower nodes. The green to reddish stalk limbs are straight between the nodes ; the lower stem nodes often take root.

The burning buttercup occurs in a land form, a floating leaf form and a submerged water form - these growth forms are not genetically fixed, but develop depending on the water level and can merge into one another. Floating leaf forms are mainly formed in spring when there is flooding. The leaf stalks elongate greatly and the leaf blades floating on the surface enlarge. In the water form, however, the leaves are reduced; the flowers wither. The long-stalked basal leaves have a length of up to 7 centimeters, oblong, wedge-shaped or rounded and entire leaf blades. The stem leaves with short stalk with a sitting sheath have a lanceolate and entire to serrated blade. The leaf blades of the lowest stem leaves are 0.7 to 6.5 cm long and 0.04 to 1 cm wide, lanceolate to inverted lanceolate or thread-like with a smooth or serrated leaf edge.

Single flower with five yellow petals, many yellow stamens and many greenish carpels


The flowering period extends from May to September. Usually many flowers are on flower stalks individually in the leaf axils. The leaf-like bracts are lanceolate to inverted-lanceolate. The flower stalk is furrowed. The hermaphrodite, radial symmetry flowers have a diameter of 7 to 20 millimeters. The base of the flower (receptaculum) is bare. The five free spread or slightly bent back sepals are 1.5 to 4 millimeters long and 1 to 2 millimeters wide and glabrous or stiffly hairy. The five to six free petals are 2.5 to 7 millimeters long and 1 to 4 millimeters wide and shiny pale to golden yellow. The nectar scales are bare.


With a size of 2 to 4 millimeters × 3 to 4 millimeters more or less spherical collective crop, many nuts stand together. The bald, rounded nuts are 1.2 to 1.6 millimeters × 1 to 1.4 millimeters in size. With a length of 0.1 to 0.6 mm, the relatively short, straight or curved, lanceolate to linear fruit beak is 1/10 of the length of the nut.

Chromosome number

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 32.


All parts of the plant of the burning buttercup are poisonous. The epithet and common name are derived from this: The sap of the plant has a pungent, pungent taste. Protoanemonin , which occurs frequently in the buttercup family, is poisonous (about 0.05%). In its fresh form, like the poison buttercup , it causes severe irritation of the mucous membranes. This plant species is therefore avoided by grazing cattle.


The burning buttercup has a wide natural range in the northern hemisphere in North America , North Africa and Eurasia . It occurs in Canada and the USA, the Azores and Madeira , northern Algeria and Morocco , Turkey and Altai , Denmark , Norway , Sweden , Finland , Ireland , the United Kingdom , Belgium , the Netherlands , in Germany , Austria , Switzerland , Italy , France , the Iberian Peninsula , the former Czechoslovakia , Hungary , Poland , Belarus , the Baltic States , the European part of Russia , northern Ukraine , the former Yugoslavia , Bulgaria , Romania , Albania and northern Greece . In Australia this species is a neophyte .

The burning buttercup thrives from the lowlands to the alpine region. This calcareous plant prefers swamps , wet meadows , moats , ponds and banks of other bodies of water as a location . The conditions are often wet; so there are temporary floods that alternate with dry phases. Mostly it is acidic sand, peat or mud soils . The burning buttercup occurs in societies of the associations Caricion fuscae, Calthion or Littorellion. In the Allgäu Alps in Bavaria, east of the Upper Hörnle-Alpe on the Riedberger Horn , it rises up to 1,420 meters above sea level. In Austria , it can be found moderately to rarely in all federal states. It is endangered in the western Alps .


It was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum , 1, p. 548.

Depending on the author, subspecies and varieties are given:

  • Ranunculus flammula var. Flammula
  • Ranunculus flammula var. Ovalis (JMBigelow) LDBenson
  • Ranunculus flammula var. Samolifolius (Greene) LDBenson
  • Ranunculus flammula subsp. minimus (Ar. Benn.) Padmore , occurs only in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Ranunculus flammula subsp. scoticus (ES Marshall) Clapham , occurs only in Europe, namely in Ireland and Northern Scotland


The burning buttercup is rarely used as an ornamental plant for pond edges.


Web links

Commons : Burning Buttercup ( Ranunculus flammula )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp. 408-409 .
  2. The poisonous plant burning buttercup.
  3. ^ Ranunculus flammula in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  4. Erhard Dörr, Wolfgang Lippert : Flora of the Allgäu and its surroundings. Volume 1, IHW, Eching 2001, ISBN 3-930167-50-6 , p. 550.
  5. Jaakko Jalas, Juha Suominen: Atlas florae europaeae . Volume 8 (Nymphaeaceae to Ranunculaceae). Page 196–197, Helsinki 1989. ISBN 951-9108-07-6
  6. ^ Eckehart J. Jäger, Friedrich Ebel, Peter Hanelt, Gerd K. Müller (eds.): Rothmaler Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Volume 5: Herbaceous ornamental and useful plants . Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8274-0918-8 , p. 148.